Following a meeting with Dan Rogerson, Minister of the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), members of the U.K.’s plastic packaging industry and supply chain have reaffirmed their commitment to recycling.
The meeting between the different parties highlighted successes to date, including exceeding recycling targets, increasing the percentage of recycled content used in new products and introducing innovative technologies to allow more recycled plastics to be recycled again.
Despite the successes, attendees at the meeting recognized the challenges facing all parties involved in the supply chain and discussed how the industry can build on successes to improve recycling rates and surpass targets. Many plastic packaging industry leaders have made a commitment to improve their recycling rates further under the Courtauld Commitment, an agreement that seeks to improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the grocery sector.
The meeting also acknowledged the achievements made by retailers and dairies under the Dairy Roadmap in working together to increase the recycled content of milk bottles to nearly 30 percent.
Following the meeting, Defra’s Rogerson said, “The plastic packaging supply chain has worked very hard to increase the amount of packaging being recycled, with the full support of government. I welcome commitment from across the supply chain to deliver on the existing agreement. This week’s meeting makes clear our commitment to go even further, continuing to embrace new technology to make sure more recycled plastic is used throughout the supply chain.”
Rogerson added, “This industry-wide commitment to recycling is delivering real environmental benefits and also creating jobs, helping to build a stronger U.K. economy.”
Jim Moseley, interim director general at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said, “Through our longstanding support for WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment, FDF members remain fully committed to helping deliver increased recycling levels of used packaging, particularly plastics. This forms part of the industry’s broader efforts to drive out waste and improve resource efficiency under our five-fold environmental ambition.
“The increase in plastics recycling seen so far is testament to what can be achieved through voluntary frameworks for action. We are committed to working with our supply chain partners, WRAP and other stakeholders to help ensure we build on this success and that the final Courtauld 3 targets are met,” Moseley added.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability for the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said, “We are aware of difficulties in the plastics recycling industry and are supportive of the principles of recycled content in packaging and products. Our members are signed up to a number of commitments in this area and will continue to work towards them, but recognize that this is a difficult market and greater attention needs to be paid to the long term sustainability of the UK recycling industry.”
Judith Bryans, CEO of Dairy UK, said, “Under the Dairy Roadmap, dairy companies have worked hard to achieve the target of 30 percent recycled material in HDPE milk bottles by 2015. There will be further progress in the future. As an industry we have a clear understanding of the important role of the plastic recycling sector in allowing us to meet these ambitious targets and help secure a sustainable future for the U.K. dairy industry.”