Targets for packaging waste announced 

The packaging waste recycling targets for 2021 and 2022 have been announced by Defra.

Overall, the targets broadly agreed in 2018 have remained consistent, with paper, wood and aluminum unchanged from the proposed targets.

The materials with the largest changes are Recovery, Glass and Plastic. Defra confirmed “there is no longer a target for recovery of packaging waste and so no recovery obligation for 2021 and 2022”, as outlined in the proposals in the consultation and the EU Directive on packaging and packaging waste. This means there will be no accreditation for recovery operators for 2021 and 2022.

Materials with changes include:

Glass

Changes from the provisional measures include a reduction in glass targets from 84% in 2021 and 87% in 2022 to 81% and 82% respectively.

Glass remelt

Glass remelt has seen a 3% drop for this year and 6% fall in 2021 to 81% and 82% respectively.

Plastic

Confirmed plastic targets are now 59% and 61% in 2021 and 2022 respectively, cut from a proposed 61% in 2021 and 65%.

Steel

Steel has been adjusted from a proposed 88% in 2021 and 90% in 2022 to 86% and 88%.

Wood

The largest change is in the wood targets, which have fallen from 48% to 35%, however this is a result of bringing targets in line with EU levels.

"The increases in paper and plastic targets are positive, but external forces outside of the industry, such as the worldwide response to Covid-19, will be key to how easily the UK can achieve these in the years ahead."

Martin Trigg-Knight, head of packaging at Clarity Environmental

These changes may reflect the delayed impacts of lockdown in the UK, with industries facing full and partial closure throughout 2020, there is expected to be a fall in the amount of plastic packaging put onto the market this year which will lead to a decrease in the obligation for 2021.

Martin Trigg-Knight, head of packaging at Clarity Environmental, said of the targets:

“Whilst largely in line with what we had expected, they are an ambitious set of targets. It is also encouraging to see that they have been designed to support the UK’s circular economy agenda. With the increase of glass remelt over glass other, and the removal of the recovery target, they reaffirm the government’s intent to prioritise higher quality recycling and reassert the waste hierarchy.

“The increases in paper and plastic targets are positive, but external forces outside of the industry, such as the worldwide response to Covid-19, will be key to how easily the UK can achieve these in the years ahead.

“It is vital that appropriate enforcement and inspections of UK and export premises are achieved alongside these higher targets to ensure that increased packaging waste recycling is achieved in the UK in the most responsible and sustainable way.”

 

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