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Defra amend Plastic packaging recycling estimations after study reveals ‘better than expected’ results.

4th September 2014

Packaging compliance scheme, Plastic packaging recycling, Packaging recycling targets, WRAP, DEFRA, producer compliance scheme the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairsA study commissioned by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to reassess the amount of Plastic Packaging placed on the market in 2013 has proven that the UK remains consistent in working towards EU plastic packaging recycling targets. The study was conducted after Plastics packaging industry experts expressed concerns over the ‘baseline’ information currently being used to determine progress levels. Results from the research, a joint study by WRAP and another producer compliance scheme, were presented to senior figures from the Plastics and Packaging sectors at a WRAP Plastics market group meeting (2 September) in the hope that the ‘better than expected’ results will help to diminish concerns over the amount of recycling required to satisfy Plastic packaging recycling targets. A full report is expected to be published in November.

Plastic packaging findings

The research findings have shown that around 2,260,000 tonnes of Plastic packaging were placed on the market in 2013; approximately 330,000 tonnes less than the 2,515,809 figure Defra had previously estimated. Defra’s estimate was announced in their recovery and recycling target consultation for 2013-2017. The figure was established based on the quantity of Plastic packaging that was placed on the market in 2006 and altered to mirror market trends regarding the amount of Plastic packaging being produced. Defra’s estimate and calculation methods provoked concern amongst the Plastic packaging sector with experts arguing that based on these approximations, the EU packaging recycling target would be very difficult to satisfy and the amount of Plastic packaging collected would have to increase to around 500,000 tonnes in order to meet targets. The target, which currently stands at 42%, will increase in 5% increments up until 2017. In contrast, the findings from the study have suggested that the progress of recycling Plastic packaging is much better than that predicted by Defra with a greater percentage of Plastic being collected than previously thought. Bob Lisney, chair of the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP), commented on the findings: “I am very pleased that all parties have worked together so well on this project and congratulate the project team on the thoroughness of their work. The good news is that this indicates that the UK is actually doing better on plastics recycling than was previously thought.” For more information and plastic packaging recycling or the packaging regulations please contact our packaging team.