Report – Recycled plastic could supply 71% of UK demand

9th January 2020 | Recycling

New analysis shows the government could be developing secondary material markets that encourage an additional two million tonnes of plastic to be recycled in the UK. This could provide 71% of the raw material needed by UK manufacturers of plastic packaging and products. The UK currently exports two thirds of plastic collected for recycling and only recycles 9% of all plastics domestically.

Recycled plastic

The report by Green Alliance for the Circular Economy Task Force, argues that the government’s focus on recycling targets only, which simply “push” material into the waste management system, fails to develop a market for the plastic collected. This leads to a waste of valuable resources and serious pollution problems. These market failures have led to over reliance on virgin materials, to the detriment of the environment, industry and the economy. It recommends three new measures to complement recycling targets and make sure much more plastic is recovered in the UK and “pulled” as raw material back into manufacturing. These are

  • Mandatory recycled content requirements for all plastic products and packaging
  • Short term support to kickstart the plastic reprocessing market
  • A market stabilisation fund to derisk investment in the market.

The report recommends new policy to overcome technical barriers. It says, to ensure a reliable market, long term strategy should provide certainty for investors, facilitate new collaborative problem solving and ratchet up ambition over time.

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, was critical of the report, saying, “It’s no surprise that a report commissioned by a body made up of some of the world’s biggest recycling companies backs the status quo. Instead of complaining that they do not have the infrastructure in place to deal with alternatives and using skewed measurements to defend inaction, they need to work with producers and government to radically overhaul a system that is not fit for purpose.”

More information available on the website below