British Plastics Federation Calls for Recycling Incentives

Project's goal is to increase the collection of plastics by 500,000 metric tons per year.

June 10, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has introduced a proposal that seeks to encourage and incentivize the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing operations in the United Kingdom. According to the BPF, the proposal originated in its Recycling Group (BPFRG) and its principles are shared across the whole federation. The proposal sets out the importance of securing end markets for recyclables to achieve a sustainable green economy.

The BPF has reported that last year the U.K. government announced its goal to be the “greenest ever” and set challenging recycling targets through 2017. According to the BPF, to reach that goal the country will require an additional 500,000 metric tons of plastics to be collected, which represents a recycling rate of 42 percent.

Despite the success of recycling of certain waste streams, such as plastics bottles, packaging recycling targets have been largely achieved to date by the export of plastic scrap. There is, however, uncertainty about the sustainability of export markets, in particular China, which has clamped down on low-quality material. Another issue is the alleged inequality of the PRN (Packaging Waste Recovery Note) and PERN (Packaging Waste Export Recovery Note) systems, which create no incentive to remove contamination prior to export, giving exports an advantage against U.K. reprocessing, BPF says. 

Consequently, the BPF says it's necessary to create incentives to drive investment in recycling and U.K. manufacturing to increase use of recycled polymers. The main producers and manufacturers, packer/fillers and retailers should, in the BPF’s view, be able to offset their PRN obligation by using and specifying recycled polymers. In this way, BPF notes, recycled polymers would not carry any obligation under the EU Packaging Directive.

Roger Baynham, chairman of the BPFRG, says, “We believe that the proposals contained in this paper will provide the much-needed traction to develop end markets for recycled plastics which are so crucial given the uncertainties of the global waste markets and, in doing so, help deliver the U.K. government’s business development, wealth creation and sustainability agendas.”

The proposal can be downloaded at: