Stuart Foster, the chief executive of Recoup, the recycling consultancy, has warned that the political implications of recent weeks could potentially shape the next decade or more for plastic recycling in the UK.
Foster said that plastics recycling “is in transition” from uncertain post-Brexit impacts on markets and legislation, company acquisitions and reprocessor administrations, to intensifying packaging scrutiny, collection system reviews, and continued lack of investment in consumer education.
He also said that the European Union provided a “stable and effective” policy landscape for UK plastic recycling.
Foster added: “If a circular economy package is a good idea, we now look to UK government to make sure a plan is implemented to give us the resource and recycling roadmap we need.
“The requirement to protect resources and work towards circular economy goals does create an interesting debate over the best environmental approach for plastic packaging.”
Back in March, the government relaxed statutory plastic packaging recycling targets. Plastic packaging recycling targets will fall from 52% to 49% for 2016, before receiving an incremental 2% increase each year until a 57% target is set in 2020.
Foster welcomed the target adjustment, adding that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has allowed the time needed to install the necessary infrastructure alongside changing recycling behaviours and improvements in pack recyclability.
He said the potential for more plastic recycling was undeniable, and Recoup and its network were determined to work together to take plastic recycling to greater heights.
“This and more topics will be covered in our annual Plastics Recycling Conference where we continue to bring together the whole of the plastics supply, use and recycling chain to discuss and debate the issues important to the industry and all its sectors,” he added.
Foster will be speaking at the Recoup Plastics Recycling Conference taking place on 29 September 2016 at KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough.