- A new Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report measured an estimated 3.7 million metric tons in plastic waste in the UK in 2014 — 2.2 million of which were packaging, mainly rigid plastic with the remaining being films, as reported in Waste Management World.
- Of consumer plastic packaging, about 594,000 metric tons were bottles, while the bulk of non-consumer waste was film mounting to about 348,000 metric tons.
- Some other takeaways were:
- There has been progress among local authorities, recyclers, and the supply chain beyond in reaching for a circular economy for plastics.
- There are a range of end market sectors and applications for recycled plastics.
- Plastics recyclers face risks due to changing market conditions resulting from their place in the middle of the supply chain, increased costs, and lower output prices. But decreased oil prices was not believed to be the only driver of their challenges.
The UK, like elsewhere in the world, faces steep recycling targets in a trying market, and the report is intended to provide a window into how the challenges will play out into the future as well as guide the nation into that future.
"This report provides ... confidence on where to invest next. Plastic recyclers don’t have to wait for oil prices to rise again. There are markets out there that will work that aren’t linked to oil prices. It's about keeping costs low, not overreaching and identifying an end product to sell the reprocessed materials into," said WRAP Director Marcus Gover, as reported in Waste Management World.
Understanding the past and present provides building blocks for securing the future.
"The estimates and actual data … present an excellent summary of the market and progress made in extending plastic collection and recycling in the UK together with some of the future challenges and opportunities that exist. This will prove to be an important and enduring reference document," said Barry Turner, director of Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group at the BPF, as reported in Waste Management World.