BPF's Recyclers Argue for Change to Producer Responsibility System

British recycling group is seeking to boost plastics recycling in the U.K.

May 9, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics
The British Plastics Federation’s (BPF) Recycling Group has proposed that the producer responsibility system governing packaging recycling should be increasingly weighted in favor of U.K. recycling. In its recent publication, Proposal to Amend the PRN/PERN System for Plastics, the Group has illustrated how it believes the implementation of the packaging regulations has created a focus on quantity rather than quality which has resulted in the UK becoming increasingly dependent on export markets for its plastic waste. 
The BPF is an association of plastics-based companies operating in the United Kingdom. The BPF promotes the interests of its members principally through its four Market Sector Groups and its many common interest Business Groups. 
In the publication, the BPF claims that the disadvantages that U.K. reprocessors face under the current system not only undermine the government’s goal of increased resource efficiency but are also a barrier to creating new employment and wealth generation opportunities in the industry. 
BPF’s Chairman Roger Baynham says, “Our aim is to help create a quality driven waste infrastructure which would place the plastics recycling sector in the vanguard of the UK’s emerging low carbon manufacturing revolution and in so doing future proof markets for plastic waste.”
The BPF’s Recycling Group is proposing to the U.K. government that, in the case of plastics, that the producer responsibility system be modified through the creation of separate targets for post consumer plastics that are converted into products through U.K. reprocessing and exports of unprocessed waste . Obligated businesses, through their compliance schemes, would be required to obtain a steadily increasing percentage of their evidence from U.K. reprocessed tonnage. The recycling group is proposing a road map with an equal 50:50 split between the two routes in 2013, progressing to a 70 percent target for U.K. reprocessed tonnage and 30 percent unprocessed export tonnage by the year 2017.
“Our proposal purposely does not undermine the competitive principles of the existing system, and we are delighted that BPF and in particular its Packaging Group have endorsed this proposal to improve the efficiency of the plastics recycling chain. Critically such a strategy would drive investment and help the UK plastic recycling sector to develop knowledge and technologies which can be exported round the world,” Baynham adds.
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