Government packaging targets unrealistic, says BPF


The British Plastic Federation (BPF) has said that it is concerned by Defra’s preferred option of plastic packaging recycling.

In its consultation, Defra proposed that plastic packaging recycling targets should increase from 37 per cent in 2013 to 57 per cent in 2017.


But the BPF says this will add a further burden on an already struggling sector with a direct cost to plastics packaging producers and handlers of £70 million over five years. It says that the Government uses excessive growth figures for plastics packaging, which have been widely ridiculed within the plastics industry.

BPF packaging group chair Bruce Margetts said: “As plastics packaging producers we want to retain the maximum value in the packaging after it has done its primary job, but this target is unrealistic in its timescale and rate of increase. It appears to be a straightforward tax on producers rather than a realistic roadmap for infrastructure and quality improvement. Production and filling of packaging could be lost from the UK.”

“BPF recycling group chair Roger Baynham added: “While the BPF recycling group applauds policies which will lead to increased resource efficiency and which create sustainable jobs and generate wealth for an emerging UK low carbon green economy, the PRN/PERN mechanism will continue to incentivise exports and drive down quality of MRF plastics unless there are mandatory minimum quality standards in line with increased targets. If we cannot grasp this nettle, we will fail to future proof markets by creating a viable long term UK plastics recycling infrastructure.”

The BPF wants to see standardised local authority collection sorting and recycling, more to tackle quality issues and substantial investment in waste recovery facilities. It would also like to see discouragement of exports of waste.