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Government urged to split plastic packaging targets

Plastics firms have called for a cap on the proportion of the packaging recycling target that can be met by exporting waste.

The British Plastics Federation published an eight-page proposal for reforming the producer responsibility system for plastics recycling.

It urged the Government to split the UK’s plastic packaging recycling target in two – with half to be met by domestic reprocessing and half by exports.

The BPF says this balance should shift over five years to only allow 30% of the target to be met with exports by 2017.

BPF chairman Roger Baynham said: “Our aim is to help create a quality-driven waste infrastructure that would place the plastics recycling sector in the vanguard of the UK’s emerging low carbon manufacturing revolution, and in so doing future proof markets for plastic waste.

“Our proposal purposely does not undermine the competitive principles of the existing. Such a strategy would drive investment and help the UK plastic recycling sector to develop knowledge and technologies which can be exported round the world.”

The Government confirmed in March that it was to introduce tougher packaging recycling targets later this year, including a controversial 5% annual hike for the plastics sector.

It added that glass recycling targets would be split by end use.

UK plastics reprocessors have long claimed the existing system of packaging recovery notes and packaging export recovery notes provides an unfair advantage to the exporters of plastic scrap over domestic reprocessors.   

ECO Plastics managing director Jonathan Short said in March: “If 20 tonnes goes into a container then 20 tonnes of PERNs can be issued. When we process material through our plant [weight] loss rates start at 10% and often surpass 30% by the time we have a product upon which we can claim a PRN.”

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