Resource Association calls for action to support recycled HDPE bottle market


An intervention by Resources Minister Dan Rogerson to support the recycled HDPE bottle market has been welcomed by the Resource Association.
But it wants to see more action now take place by the supply chain to specify rHDPE.
The Resource Association said it would like to see renewed commitment to the voluntary agreement that have driven progress in collection and recycling of rHDPE plastic packaging by ensuring minimum recycled content in plastic packaging.
This followed a meeting convened by Resources Minister Dan Rogerson last week, that included representatives from waste, resources and plastics industry association plus retailers, brand owners and WRAP.
Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson (pictured) said: “Dan Rogerson’s intervention this week was timely and necessary and we are grateful to him for his critical attention to the problem that plastics reprocessors are facing as a result of low oil prices and the switch back to virgin polymer by some of the major players in the supply chain.
“The meeting heard many general messages of support for the continued use of recycled content in line with the commitments made under the Dairy Roadmap and Courtauld Commitment, facilitated by WRAP. However, these were not backed by specifics in the meeting and frankly, warm words are not enough.
“We call on the signatories of the Dairy Roadmap and Courtauld Commitment to honour their commitments to recycled content, but this now means more is needed than merely a general statement of intent – it needs an urgent switch back to specifying rHDPE with immediate effect.
“We recognise that there are cost pressures on all parts of the supply chain, but at the moment, the most vulnerable part of the supply chain – the reprocessor – is carrying the cost burden and most of the risk. A long term view is needed, and a reminder of the sustainability commitments made by retailers and brand owners is now necessary, along with this urgent appeal to take the long view, stand firm with the reprocessors, help them weather the storm, and protect this vital UK recycling infrastructure for years to come.
“If we lose it for the sake of 0.1p on the cost of a standard plastic milk bottle, not only will it be a hole under the waterline for the voluntary approach taken by WRAP, Government and the industry, it will make all the warm words about sustainability and the circular economy sound very hollow.
“Given that the supply chain has already had the windfall and benefit of huge cost savings from the reduced cost of virgin polymer for the 70% of product that is virgin content, surely 0.1p on the cost of a milk bottle is not a high price to pay for the sustainability of the UK rHDPE recycling infrastructure.”