UK plastics industry wary of government recycling targets

25 May 2011 17:38  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Plastics producers, processors and recyclers want to prevent used plastics going to landfill by 2020 but are wary of unrealistic government recycling targets, Peter Davis, director general of the British Plastics Federation (BPF), said on Wednesday.

A British government review of waste disposal and reduction is expected to be published on 14 June but the BPF and other stakeholders have warned of a potential, negative impact of unrealistic recycling targets.

In 2010, the outgoing UK government suggested a recycling target for plastics waste of 56.9%, which Davis called “unrealistically high”. The BPF and others have been arguing for a target closer to 48–50%, which Davis believes is achievable.

At BPF’s AGM, Davis said 72% of high density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles sold in the UK were recycled in 2009, a 57% increase on the year before. A third of all expandable polystyrene (EPS) packaging was recycled in the same year, he added.

A total of 49,343 tonnes of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in construction was recycled in 2010, according to BPF data. However, Davis said that while 40% of all plastic bottles in the UK are recycled, only 78% of local government authorities are collecting them.

The BPF’s member companies moved from recession to recovery in the 2009–2010 period, outgoing president Paul Jukes said.

Jukes welcomed the current coalition government’s moves to tackle the budget deficit and rebalance the economy to expand manufacturing.

For a view on the latest sustainability issues, visit Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog
For more on HDPE and PVC, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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