UK on course to meet 2017 packaging recycling targets

27th July 2017 | Recycling

The UK is currently on course to meet recycling obligations for all key packaging materials, according to the latest figures published on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD), though the potential Chinese ban on some imports could see more price volatility on the horizon.

The date which shows the amount of recycling of key packaging materials throughout quarters one and two (Q1 and Q2) of 2017, show that each has completed over 50 per cent of its recycling target.

Individual targets for each material have been set this year at:

  • Glass – 77 per cent
  • Plastic – 51 per cent
  • Aluminium – 55 per cent
  • Steel – 76 per cent
  • Paper – 69.5 per cent
  • Wood – 22 per cent

The NPWD’s Interim Recovery and Recycling reports show summary reprocessor and exporter data for a given quarter and they show that so far this year some 1.8 million tonnes of paper has been recycled, fulfilling around 73 per cent of the required 2.5 million tonnes, while 94 per cent of the required wood (213,578 tonnes) has been recycled already.

While all are over 50 per cent of the way towards targets, glass (52 per cent) and plastic (54 per cent) have made the least progress towards the targets.

Analysing the figures, compliance scheme Ecosurety says that plastic has been “a cause for concern all year”, noting that the price for the material has risen throughout the first two quarters of the year, but that this increased price had “driven” the levels of recycling required to get it over halfway to its target of 51 per cent this year.

Ecosurety says that the figures showing good progress towards all targets could alleviate pressure on the packaging recovery note (PRN) market, which it says could be particularly important for the plastic price given speculation surrounding the future of the material’s treatment after the Chinese Government submitted plans to ban imports of scrap plastics and unsorted waste paper.

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