Eunomia Research and Consulting has outlined policy measures in a new report to deliver increased use of post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) to improve recycling in the UK.
The report titled, ‘Demand Recycled: Policy Options for Increasing the Demand for Post-Consumer Recycled Materials’, has been commissioned by the Resource Association and WWF-UK and sets out ideas on the likely effectiveness of various policy interventions.
The study was commissioned following China’s recent decision to end imports of plastic waste and conclusion of National Audit Office, on government’s failure to ensure that exported material is actually recycled, in its recent report.
The report recommends a system of fee on packaging, with a refund of fee for the secondary materials users to increase the demand for post-consumer recycled materials (PCR). It also suggests that improving recycled materials’ market would be effective in creating a circular economy.
The report was released at the Resource Association’s Parliamentary Reception hosted by Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North-West, on 20 November 2018.
Alex Sobel addressed the meeting alongside Jochen Behr, Head of Recycling at DS Smith, Eunomia’s chairman Dominic Hogg, WWF-UK’s Toby Roxburgh and Resource Association’s Ray Georgeson.
WWF-UK head of marine policy Lyndsey Dodds said: “Our oceans are choking on plastic, 90% of the world’s sea birds have fragments of plastic in their stomach. Despite the public outcry, more products are being made with virgin, or new, plastic than with recycled plastic.
“A new system is needed – where a levy on all packaging is used to reward those using the most recycled material – to incentivise the use of recycled material and support the target announced in the budget for a minimum of 30% recycled plastic in products. Nature is on life support, and we must act now to save it.”
Eunomia chairman Dominic Hogg said: “We believe that the introduction of this mechanism could significantly increase the use of recycled plastic, as well as creating jobs here at home, by ensuring materials collected in the UK for recycling are properly used as a resource. This is the kind of mechanism we hope the Treasury will be looking at – it has already indicated its interest in this area with the proposed tax on plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled material.”
Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “All parts of the resources supply chain for too long have talked in general terms about the need to boost demand for recycled material and use demand-pull measures to develop the markets to assist in reaching higher recycling targets. This report now adds a real level of detail to this discussion with some much-needed fresh thinking.”