Plans to drive down packaging waste gather pace

Efforts to reduce the huge amount of waste produced from packaging have received a boost this week with the announcement of new Government recycling targets.

Packaging waste is a huge issue that impacts on almost every industry and the new targets take in everything from drinks cans to packing crates.

The annual targets run up until 2010 and insist on a steady improvement in recycling levels across a number of waste streams.

As well as setting the new targets, Defra has announced several changes to existing regulations that aim to cut red tape and reduce the burden on industry.

The changes primarily affect pubs, licensors and those operating franchises like many of the large fast food chains.

Ben Bradshaw, Local Environmental Quality Minister said the new targets should help to ensure that the UK could meet its legally binding European obligations by 2008.

“Businesses have achieved a significant increase in the amount of recycling carried out since the regulations were introduced in 1997,” he said.

“Recycling of packaging waste has nearly doubled since then. We want to ensure that packaging waste recycling and recovery keeps on its current upward trend.”

Mr Bradshaw highlighted that by bringing in more businesses, costs will be shared more equitably among all the businesses involved and will keep their individual recovery and recycling targets lower than they might otherwise be.

A detailed description of the changes and background information on the regulations themselves can be found on the Defra website here.

Packaging recovery and recycling business targets by per cent, from 2006 to 2010.

Paper 66.5 67 67.5 68 68.5

Glass 65 69.5 73.5 74 74.5

Aluminium 29 31 32.5 33 35.5

Steel 56 57.5 58.5 59 59.5

Plastic 23 24 24.5 25 25.5

Wood 19.5 20 20.5 21 21.5

Overall 66 67 68 69 70

The minimum amount of the recovery to be achieved through recycling will remain at 92% throughout the five year period.

By Sam Bond

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