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Plastic, glass and electronic waste targets changed

The Government has raised the 2016 recycling target for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and has set new targets for plastic packaging and glass to 2020.

The Government has raised the 2016 recycling target for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and has set new targets for plastic packaging and glass to 2020. 

The changes were first announced in the 2016 Spring Budget in March.

WEEE

The new 2016 collection target for WEEE is 544,341 tonnes, nearly 37,000 tonnes higher than the target for 2015 and amount reported by producer compliance schemes in 2015.

Under WEEE regulations, manufacturers that produce more than five tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) a year must join a producer compliance scheme (PCS) to pay for the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE from household and non-household waste.

Retailers and distributors of EEE must also provide a way for customers to dispose of their old equipment. 

According to the Environment Agency, over 1.4 million tonnes of EEE was placed on the UK market in 2015, only 35 per cent of which was collected. 

Research published in 2015 revealed that almost 42 million tonnes of WEEE was produced worldwide in 2014, wasting around £34 billion in recoverable materials.

Packaging

Meanwhile, the Government has revised the plastic packaging recycling target to be achieved by companies in the packaging supply chain through PCSs. 

Companies that handle 50 tonnes of packaging materials or more a year and have a turnover of more than £2 million are obligated to follow packaging regulations to meet waste packaging recycling and recovery responsibilities. 

Further environmental regulations must be followed by companies that design packaging.

Plastic

The previous plastic packaging recycling target of 52 per cent for 2016 is set to drop to 49 per cent to “reduce the burden on business”, before rising by 2 per cent each year to 57 per cent by 2020. 

Just over 40 per cent of the 2.2 million tonnes of plastic packaging produced in the UK in 2015 was recycled.

Glass

New recycling targets for glass packaging running to 2020 have also been set. The existing target of 77 per cent will be maintained until 2017 and then increase by 1 per cent each year to 80 per cent by 2020.