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Carbon-based recycling targets welcome, say industry experts

The shift from weight-based packaging recycling targets to carbon-based ones will be more environmentally beneficial, say industry experts.

Comments from industry experts follow the introduction of the Packaging Strategy last week which states that the Government will look at what a move from weight-based to carbon-based targets would involve in practise and at the balance of costs and benefits of such a move, in consultation with industry and other experts.

Glass recycling firm Recresco director Tim Gent said: It makes a lot of sense for them to be looking at a move to carbon-based targets. A lot of glass is going to aggregate and there is no carbon benefit in that. I predict that roughly 400,000 tonnes of glass is going to aggregate per year and 700,000 tonnes is going to remelt, the rest goes to export.

We welcome carbon-based targets as it is the best for environmental best practice.
Glass Recycling director Ron England added: Sometimes people make things too complicated than they need too. We always had the mantra of KISS Keep it Simple Stupid. But if it is difficult to measure then we cant control it. I agree with decreasing the carbon levels and having a low carbon footprint. But how do you measure it? If one person has a low carbon car but uses it a lot and another person has a high polluting car and uses it only 10 miles a week, how do you measure who had done the most polluting?

At the moment Government focuses on weight-based targets and collecting weight-based materials.

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation chief executive Rick Hindley said that a shift from weight-based to carbon-based targets will help to recover materials such as light-weight aluminium and help reach aluminium recycling targets.

He added: We welcome the strategy as it shows the Government and Defra have been listening to us and the packaging industry. They have been listening to the suggestions we have been making in the past two years but the proof of the pudding shall be in the eating as they say.

They have a great vision and interesting content. As long as Government and Defra keep consulting with industry to ensure that proposals are delivered in the most effective way possible, we will clearly support it.

The strategy also calls on industry to increase the recycled content in packaging. Hindley said that he had concerns with this measure and said that taking metal packaging to move recycled material from one application to another is not necessarily the best sustainable solution. He said that recycling the full content was the best solution.

In England, the Government will also consult on the option of banning aluminium (among other material) from landfill.

Hindley said that in principal the idea from banning aluminium from landfill was a good idea but in practice it may be hard to deliver because of lack of alternative waste infrastructure, such as incineration, where aluminium can be recovered from the process.

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