- A new report from the research firm Sustainalytics found the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU) could potentially cause U.K. legislators to scale back on waste diversion targets, specifically in the area of recycling.
- When the EU announced increased diversion targets two years ago, the U.K. criticized the recycling push because of the cost it would impose on businesses. "We wouldn't be surprised if we found a relaxation of the recycling targets," Sustainalytics associate director Doug Morrow told The Huffington Post.
- Plastribution managing director Mike Bowell also noted the U.K.'s plastics market will take a hit in the wake of Brexit due to the fall of the pound against other currencies. He told Plastics News that investment decisions are "crucial in the months to come."
As the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union is a reflection of its desire for freedom, such freedom can cause turmoil for green initiatives like waste diversion. The U.K. was never in favor of costs associated with the EU's environmental pushes, and the issue of air pollution is another area of concern — just a week into 2016, London had breached the EU's new air pollution limits, according to The Huffington Post.
"We would not be surprised if, once the terms [of the Brexit] are renegotiated, the U.K. moved to relax some of the domestic air pollution standards," said Morrow to the Post. "It’s relatively well known that the U.K. has struggled with implementing some of the EU’s directives on this front."
In the area of plastics, Bowell believes the industry will survive — however competition will be greatly determined by the value of the U.K.'s currency. As of Monday morning, the value of the pound slid to a 30-year low.
Outside of waste and recycling, many other industries will greatly transform as a result of the Brexit decision. The U.K.'s pharma industry is expected to be negatively affected because it will no longer be able to access the 500 million patient E.U. market. Additionally, the U.K.'s construction industry will likely take a hit as projects are expected to be delayed or canceled. Builders will also likely need to find new importers of materials.