WRAP to work on new research to help improve plastic and metal market transparency

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Valpak, an environmental compliance scheme, have announced that they are set to work together on two new projects that will review existing estimates of market flows and recycling levels for plastic and metal packaging in the UK.

The ‘MetalFlow 2014’ project will review estimates of metal packaging (steel and aluminium) placed on the market in the UK, with separate assessments of the amount of recycling and reprocessing. In contrast, the ‘Plastic Market Flow 2014’ project will review estimates of the amount of plastic packaging placed on the market.

According to WRAP, this work is being undertaken to improve market transparency and information on plastic and metal packaging recovery and recycling in the UK. It also hopes to identify and evaluate possible risks to UK compliance this year, and in subsequent years.

Commissioned by Defra, the projects will be led jointly by WRAP and Valpak. They will work collectively with industry, drawing on the knowledge and data from trade bodies and other stakeholders including the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) and The Environment Agency.

WRAP director Marcus Gover said: “Data is key to achieving clarity. We need the support and input from the industry, and ask them to share their data so that these projects can provide an unbiased and authoritative analysis of the metal and plastic packaging markets.

“Once complete, these projects will provide a sound basis for decisions that could enable increased recovery and recycling of packaging in the UK.”

Defra Environment Minister Dan Rogerson added: “I fully support WRAP’s proposed programme of work to review data underpinning our packaging recycling targets. I want us to have the most robust and comprehensive data available on which to make decisions.”

Valpak chief executive Steve Gough went on to underline the importance of this work to the whole sector, Government and others. He said: “We felt that this work was of sufficient importance to commit time and resource to the project. We also believe that it must engage the support of key stakeholders, to whom this information is essential, in terms of planning for cost effective UK compliance, identifying any barriers to more effective collection and recycling and ensuring that the UK is best placed to comply with EU targets and to do so at lowest cost to industry.”

The ‘Metalflow 2014’ project commenced in early 2014; key stakeholders have been recruited to a project steering group which held its first meeting in February.

The ‘Plastic Market Flow 2014’ project will commence in March 2014. The scope of the project is currently being finalised and the project steering group that will comprise of key stakeholders is now being recruiting.

Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) chairman Bob Lisney said: “The ACP is keen to understand why the amount of packaging placed on the market differs wildly to that of obligated packaging. We fully support the investigation of UK packaging market flows and the development of forward-looking scenarios to give us an improved understanding of these markets, which hopefully will be welcomed by those directly involved in the industry.”

Liz Gyekye

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