UK could be stretched to meet 2004 recycling targets

The UK faces a tough challenge if it is to meet recycling and recovery targets by the end of this year, Producer Responsibility scheme Valpak warned this week.

Following the recent release of Defra’s recovery and recycling figures for the third quarter of 2004, Valpak issued the warning, saying that they showed the UK was failing to meet intermediate recycling rates in aluminium, steel, plastic and general recycling.

Of these materials, plastic was particularly short of its target. However, the organisation pointed out that this was probably caused by the recent investigation into fraud, which saw a reduction of 80,000 tonnes of Packaging Waste Recovery notes (PRNs) recorded in 2003 as they had been inappropriately issued.

“If figures for quarter four follow the trend for the rest of the year, then the UK may find it does not meet its targets for this year,” chief executive of Valpak, Steve Gough explained.

He stated that there were several factors that could contribute to the currently low figures, and that some compliance schemes could face significant challenges in meeting their obligations at the end of the year.

“There figures demonstrate the need for continued investment in the PRN system in order to drive recycling rates up – particularly in materials such as plastic, which has seen a set-back this year,” Mr Gough added.

However, a spokesperson from Defra told edie that it was still premature to be commenting on whether or not the 2004 targets would be met. They pointed out that, in previous years, producers tended to buy more PRNs in the fourth quarter of the year than in any other quarter anyway.

By Jane Kettle

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