A study commissioned by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) Recycling Group has found that the Government has overstated the amount of plastic packaging on the market by 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes per year.
It commissioned the report in response to a request from the Advisory Committee on Packaging to corroborate recycling rates and has analysed the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) returns and concluded that the true figure is lower than the currently calculated 2.5 million tonnes.
The report has been produced by Phil Conran from 360 Environmental and indicates that Defra’s current assumption of a 2.5 per cent growth rate for plastic packaging is over-optimistic.
NPWD data has shown an overall flat position in the period from 2006 to 2012 when the figures showed a significant decline.
The consequence of this is that for the last few years, the UK plastics packaging chain has been performing better in its recycling achievement than has been reported to Europe.
BPF Recycling Group chairman Roger Baynham said: “It is disappointing that the UK’s plastic recycling performance has been understated. It is crucial that the actual baseline from which targets are calculated are accurate so that compliance costs are not exaggerated.”
While BPF Packaging Group chairman Bruce Margetts added: “We need legislation based on facts and this report provides independent and authoritative validation of factors we are fully aware of in our businesses.
“There has been a slowdown in consumer expenditure on packed goods and that through the corporate social responsibility programmes we are responding to, there has been significant progress made in the light weighting of packaging.”