The British Plastics Federation has attempted to circumvent Defra and take its grave concerns over “unachievable” packaging targets to the Treasury.
In a letter to the economic secretary to the Treasury, Chloe Smith (Con), the BPF said Defra’s preferred targets for plastics were “unrealistic; an extra huge cost for plastics companies; and a threat to growth”.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman has since responded to the BPF, writing: “On the level and ambition of the government’s preferred option on plastics packaging targets, I note your views and concern about the level that is proposed.”
BPF director general Peter Davis said: “It is good that our real concerns on Defra’s preferred target has been noted and acknowledged at the highest level of that government department.
“We don’t object to a higher target but what they are proposing is not possible in the timescale.”
“On the level and ambition of the Government’s preferred option on plastics packaging targets, I note your views and concern about the level that is proposed.”
Defra’s consultation on recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013 – 2017, which closed on 10 February, outlined plans to increase the plastics recycling target by 5 percentage points per year, from 32% in 2012 to 57% by 2017.
The BPF said: “The direct cost to plastics packaging producers and handlers would be an extra £70m over five years which is in effect a direct and unfair tax on the packaging sector to support an unachievable target.
“The government uses excessive growth figures for plastics packaging, which have been widely ridiculed within the industry.”
MRW has reported backing for the targets from London Councils and the Environmental Services Association (see link on right).