Packaging targets aim to cut carbon

Three quarters of the UK's packaging waste will be recovered and more than 80% of glass packaging will be recycled within two years under new targets announced by Government.

Defra, which confirmed the planned targets on Monday following a consultation last year, estimates they will save 285,436 tonnes of carbon in 2010.

Ministers want 72% of packaging to be recovered this year, rising to 74% by 2010.

Glass recycling will be expected to hit 81% by 2010, while other targets include 69.5% for paper, 69% for steel and 22% for wood.

Ministers said the targets have been designed to save more carbon emissions than those originally published in the consultation paper last year.

Waste minister Joan Ruddock said: “Reducing, recovering and recycling packaging is an important way in which business, Government and the consumer can work together to reduce greenhouse gases.

“These increased targets represent our commitment to drive up recycling in Great Britain and tackle dangerous climate change.”

Friends of the Earth, which last year launched a campaign encouraging people to email Ms Ruddock and urge her to increase the proposed targets, said Government had still not been tough enough.

Dr Michael Warhurst, senior waste and resources campaigner, told edie targets on aluminium (40% by 2010) and plastic (22% by 2010) were particularly disappointing, but he hoped targets for 2011 and 2012 – which have not yet been decided – will be more ambitious.

He told edie: “It is quite a unique opportunity [to reduce packaging] and basically we say that the Government has thrown that opportunity away as the recycling targets are very low.”

He added: “There’s a potential for them to do more. I think the question is whether they have got the nerve.”

Plastics manufacturer Nampak Plastics Europe, which plans to build its own HDPE recycling plant in north east Engand, welcomed the announcement but said local authorities needed to collect more plastics to ensure the target is met.

Development director James Crick said: “With only just over half of UK households having kerbside collections for plastics, there is the obvious potential to make subsequent recycling targets more challenging and offer even greater environmental benefits.”

Kate Martin

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