The Independent Packaging Environment and Safety Forum has hit out at the UK Government, claiming the country is going to be swamped with “unwanted, poorly sorted packaging waste” because of its own mismanagement of funds rather than the actions of the packaging industry.
It says comments by Mary MCreagh, Chairman of the The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) about the current levy on plastics producers only raising a fraction of the cost of dealing with plastic waste, appear to shift the blame.
In a recent press statement, the forum says tens of thousands of pounds contributed over the past 20 years by packaging producers, material manufacturers, packer fillers, retailers and importers should have been invested in the development of a sustainable UK plastics recycling industry, as they were originally intended, instead of the export of plastics packaging waste to the Far East.
But instead the Government has been responsible for a “scramble” to export packaging waste with minimum effort at collection and sortation and, now that China has ‘closed its doors’.
“HM Government has been consistently warned by industry via Defra and other consultation documents, that meeting targets by exporting plastics packaging waste half way around the planet in order to meet recycling targets was unsustainable, advice which has been totally ignored,” says the statement, adding: “When the Government introduced the PRO Regulations, which placed a legal obligation on producers, it failed to place any legislation on the local authorities through whom the vast majority of obligated packaging waste is handled.
“The direct result of which is that the recycling ‘feedstock’ is of such a poor quality due to inadequate collection and sorting systems, it has proved impossible to consistently create post consumer recyclate (PCR) plastics materials that can compete with virgin plastics either on quality or cost.”