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Plastic recyclers launch manifesto

Splitting the plastic recycling target and introducing an ‘offset’ principle in the producer responsibility regime are the key elements of a ‘manifesto’ from the British Plastics Federation (BPF).

They are included in an an eight-page document issued by the BPF’s Recycling Group to increase plastic recycling in the UK. This is not the first time such calls have come from the BPF but they follow the recent European Commission proposals for Europe-wide targets for 2030.

The group wants plastic recycling targets in the UK split between domestic reprocessing and that for export. It says this should be introduced over three years with an increasing share of obligations to be met with Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN), which would cover recycling in the UK and in Europe (see table below).

YearPRN (UK and EU)PERN
150%50%
255%45%
360%40%

The split target would increase the funding available for investment in sorting and processing equipment in the UK, the group said. It would also boost domestic recycling capacity, decrease the cost of compliance and reduce the environmental impact of plastics recycling.

But the group insists it does not oppose exports: “The greater value-add for the UK would be to recycle the waste plastic materials inside the UK economy and then to export a much higher value, high-quality recycled polymer pellet directly to European and overseas manufacturing industries.”

Another proposal is the introduction in the packaging regulations of a mechanism to allow producers to offset their obligations by using and specifying recycled polymers. This would help securing markets for recycled plastics and drive resource efficiency, the group says.

The BPF Recycling Group represents organisations involved in the collection, sorting, reprocessing of plastic waste, as well as companies that convert waste plastics back into new polymer materials and products.

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