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'Tougher' packaging targets proposed

Ministers have unveiled proposals for “tougher” packaging recycling targets in a bid to stop 400,000 tonnes of wrapping going to landfill by 2017.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman launched a consultation on the new targets for packaging producers, with a final decision to be announced in the 2012 Budget.

Spelman said tougher targets would ease the demand on raw natural materials and improve resource efficiency by making more recyclable materials available for businesses.

She added: “Christmas is a time when, more than ever, we all notice the amount of packaging that comes with the things we buy. An alarming amount of this is still going to landfill.

“These new, more ambitious targets will deliver real environmental and economic benefits. They will give a new incentive to companies to cut down on excess packaging and increase efforts to have their materials recycled.”

The proposed new targets would increase the:

  • steel recycling target by 1% per year, from 71% in 2012 to 76%t by 2017
  • aluminium recycling target by 1% per year, from 40% in 2012 to 55% in 2017
  • plastics recycling target by 5% per year, from 32% to 57% by 2017
  • overall packaging recovery rate by 1% each year, from 74% in 2012 to 79% in 2017

The proposals would also see glass recycling split into sub-categories to boost the amount of glass that is re-melted. Defra said this is more environmentally friendly than using it as an aggregate in such things as building materials. 

The targets were drawn up following recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Packaging and fulfil a commitment in the Waste Review, published in the summer, to consult on increased recycling targets.

A consultation on the new packaging recycling targets will run for eight weeks, closing on Friday 10 February 2012 with a final decision on the new targets announced in the 2012 Budget.

See consultation here

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