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Plastics industry reaffirms recycling commitment

Leading representatives of the plastic sectors and retailers have met resource minister Dan Rogerson to discuss the current challenges faced by the recycled plastic industry.

MRW understands that the hour-long meeting was initially held to discuss bottle recycling, but became a discussion on the wider plight of the industry.

Attendees included members from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Dairy UK. All expressed the desire to continue boosting the proportion of recyclates in milk bottles from its current figure of nearly 30% as part of the Dairy Roadmap.

The roadmap is a taskforce composed of 25 organisations from across the plastics industry which define targets for the proportion of recyclates used in milk bottles.

Dairy UK chief Judith Bryans said the industry had been working towards the 30% target by the end of 2015 and that progress would continue once this target is reached.

BRC director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie wanted more industry support from the Government.

“This is a difficult market and greater attention needs to be paid to the long-term sustainability of the UK recycling industry,” he said.

Methods to boost recycling rates were discussed, including the commitments made by industry leaders under the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement to improve resource efficiency and reduce waste within the UK grocery sector.

Jim Moseley, director general at the FDF, said his members remained “fully committed” to the commitment.

Steve Lee, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, said progress has been made on plastics recycling built on co-operation and commitment from the whole supply chain, including local authorities, the packaging supply chain and the retail sector.

“The statement rightly highlights the commitment to the use of recycled content that the packaging and retail supply chain has made through a range of voluntary agreements. The CIWM applauds the step change that these commitments have delivered.

“However, now is the time when action really counts as the plastics markets experience unprecedented challenges. Ultimately, the imperative goes beyond simply meeting targets and legal obligations, it is about ‘tooling up’ to ensure that the UK directly reaps the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and resource efficiency. It is also about delivering a very positive message to consumers that their recycling efforts are making a difference here at home.”

Rogerson voiced support for greater plastics recycling in the industry: “This industry-wide commitment to recycling is delivering real environmental benefits and also creating jobs, helping to build a stronger UK economy.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Interesting that nobody is stepping forward to admit that they had the benefit of the huge reduction in virgin plastic costs following the oil price collapse - maybe they could pay a small amount towards keeping 30% recycled materials in our milk bottles

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