The boss of a leading supplier of recycled thermoplastics plastics has launched a withering attack on attitudes towards plastics recycling in the UK and called for a national waste management structure to which all stakeholders should sign up.
Peter Atterby, managing director of Louth-based Luxus, said that recent developments affecting the sector meant the market had to change.
In the wake of the recent closure of Boomerang Plastics and last year's corporate casualties in the plastics recycling sector, and echoing calls from the likes of Boomerang and Summit Systems owner Mike Jordan and others, Atterby said manufacturers, retailers and government needed to show a “proof of a commitment” to buy recycled thermoplastics.
Recent market conditions had been both unusual and unsustainable, Atterby went on, with the commitment to purchasing reprocessed compounds diminishing in the drive to maximise opportunist profits. “It has indeed been difficult in utility recycling as the oil price has continued to fall."
He added: “We believe therefore, that the recycling market must change. We believe that all stakeholders should make the shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to manage their environmental impacts.”
Short term decisions on recycling issues made the whole process untenable, he said, resulting in long term problems for both blue chip corporates and UK plc in general.
Atterby called for a commitment to a national waste management structure and lambasted the UK's focus on subsidising co-mingled waste for export, “with its lack of incentive to increase the quality of baled polymer, doesn't benefit the development of baled processing within Europe”.
He said that reform of the “out-dated” PRN system would help, since it currently favoured exporting waste abroad.
Atterby said his company engineered sustainable thermoplastics that were advanced enough to compete directly with the performance of prime material and contribute to a product's ‘Life Cycle Assessment' requirements. Yet the system, as it currently stood, did not encourage their use.
“The European Union hopes to boost the recycling of municipal solid waste to 70% by 2030, and specifying recycled polymer will help to make this possible.
“Yet in these extreme market conditions, no support is being offered to help achieve this goal,” he added.