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Plastics industry launches recycling action plan

The UK plastics and plastic packaging industry have released a sector-wide plan to boost plastic packaging recycling ahead of the Government’s proposed target of 57 per cent by 2017.

The UK plastics and plastic packaging industry have released a sector-wide plan to boost plastic packaging recycling ahead of the Government’s proposed target of 57 per cent by 2017.

The Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan (PIRAP) is a cooperative strategy for the whole plastic packaging supply chain to help the industry capture 350,000 more tonnes of waste packaging a year – the amount that is needed to achieve the 57 per cent recycling rate set for 2017.

This target means that recycling rates will have to rise by 10 per cent between 2015 and 2017, a trajectory the plan describes as “extremely challenging”.

Collaboration

The plan has been developed by Government-backed NGO, WRAP, and Plastics 2020 – a collaboration between PlasticsEurope, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Packaging and Films Association (PAFA).

It covers all aspects of end-of-life packaging, including collection, sorting, re-processing and reuse.  

Waste management firms and plastics re-processors are called on to invest in new infrastructure and expand the end-market for plastics, while producers and retailers are asked to use recyclability guidance in packaging production and labelling, as well as focus packaging design on incorporating higher volumes of recycled plastics.

Industry-wide support

The action plan is already being supported by several large organisations in the industry, including Coca Cola Enterprises and the Food and Drinks Federation (FDF). Philip Law, director general of the BPF, described it as a “great achievement”.

“Plastics packaging recycling levels are a function of so many factors and the support of a very large number of organisations has to be harnessed to make significant progress”, he added.

‘Strengthening supply chain’

Claire Shrewsbury, Packaging Programme Manager at WRAP, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan launch with a wide range of supporters already signed up. 

“To realise the full benefits of plastics recycling, and achieve the targets, the whole supply chain must work together to achieve a common outcome. The plan will drive this kind of collaboration and strengthen links across the entire plastics supply chain, ensuring more valuable plastic is recycled into second life applications.”

The full action plan and a support form for businesses are available here. Businesses signing up will be provided with the PIRAP logo for use on any collateral and promotional materials.