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Industry group seeks more ambition for packaging target

Aluminium packaging

The Resource Association (RA) has called on Defra to adopt the most challenging packaging targets and has urged a focus on achieving high-quality recycling collections.

The RA has submitted its formal response to consultation on revisions to packaging recycling business targets. Three options are proposed (see box).

It supports Option 2 for paper and wood packaging recycling, the choice backed by the Confederation of Paper Industries and the Wood Recyclers Association.

The RA also endorses Alupro’s call for more ambition on aluminium packaging recycling.

A review of the 2017 target is urged because the existing target has already been exceeded. It points out that plastics and glass targets were reviewed in mid-year during 2016, so this should be a priority.

2000 ray georgeson

2000 ray georgeson

RA chief executive Ray Georgeson (pictured) said: “The low-cost compliance approach taken in the UK Packaging Regulations has worked well for many.

“But as targets rise, systems must be prioritised that recover more of the difficult-to-reach material from municipal streams and from smaller commercial enterprises.

“Consistent, quality-driven municipal collections will be crucial, which is why we continue to commend the approach taken by WRAP in its consistency framework to identify separate collections as delivering lower cost and higher quality recycling over the long term – as is being effectively implemented in Wales through the Collections Blueprint now delivering the highest national municipal recycling rates in the UK.”


  • Option 1: no increase in targets from the current 2017 targets through to 2020.
  • Option 2: the greatest rise, based on keeping the UK on track to achieve the circular economy package recycling targets for 2025 of 65% overall. The figure for wood, for example, would be 38% in 2018, 43% in 2019 and 43% in 2020. Aluminium’s targets for the same years would be 57%, 59% and 61%.
  • Option 3: lower increases for all materials, apart from aluminium, which Defra says are “optimal” based on its cost-benefit analysis.

The analysis predicts that Option 3 would have the greatest net benefit to businesses of £4m a year, as well as the best net social benefit of £28m annually.

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