A new report by WRAP reveals that the UK is over half-way towards recycling 70% of plastic packaging.
The recent publication by the charity Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is the first annual report for The UK Plastics Pact, as it gives a clear indication of progress made by members against its targets, as well as future challenges.
The UK Plastics Pact was launched last year by WRAP and brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with the UK government and NGOs in a bid to tackle plastic waste. Unilever, Arla and PepsiCo are among some of the members who have committed to achieving the 2025 targets.
WRAP’s data shows that members are set to remove a total of 1.1 billion items of unnecessary single use plastic by the end of 2020, with several items such as straws and cotton buds already eliminated by the majority of members.
Meanwhile, supermarkets have removed 3,400 tonnes of unnecessary plastic packaging from fresh produce – the equivalent of 272 London buses – and 137.5m plastic stickers from fruit and vegetables.
Pact members are over halfway towards all their packaging being recyclable, thanks to the removal of some non-recycling black plastic by supermarkets, according to WRAP.
WRAP states that the UK currently recycles 44% of its plastic packaging, supported by investments in UK reprocessing of plastic and collection points in stores.
The 2018/2019 report also revealed that in 2019 the average amount of recycled content was 10% across Pact members’ plastic packaging, a third of its way towards its 30% goal.
In 2019, the UK government introduced a tax on plastic packaging that does not meet a minimum of 30% recycled content, which will also help further progress.
Marcus Gover WRAP CEO said: “The way that we make, use and dispose of plastic is transforming, and I am proud of the progress that the Pact has made so far. But there is no magic wand – we’re unpicking a highly complex and well-established system and making sure that we don’t simply displace the environmental cost elsewhere.
“Our Pact members have shown that they’re committed to this challenge and our new report demonstrates the breadth of action so far on tackling plastic waste. These aren’t token gestures – changes like these require a huge amount of investment and innovation.”
Moving forward, the report claims while there has been an increase in reusable packaging, a key challenge still includes developing a recycling system for plastic films.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019