UK waste sector must do more to meet five year plastic packaging recycling targets

Riverside Waste Machinery

The UK is now in the second year of the Government’s ambitious five-year recycling target period for plastic packaging. With these targets including an overall 25% growth in plastics recycling – 5% year-on-year – the UK needs to get serious and continue to promote sensible policy and strategic development if it is to meet the 57% target in 2017.

And yet despite the many well publicised benefits to companies of managing their plastic waste streams by baling and reaping revenues from reprocessors, it is estimated that 48% of commercial plastic packaging is not being recycled.

Not only is this a hugely missed commercial opportunity but it is at a massive cost to the UK taxpayer. The cost to dispose of plastic bottles alone which are not processed for recycling is said to over £24m. If this plastic waste was baled, the value to the reprocessors could be well over £63m.

And with plastic prices across all fractions remaining steady as we go into 2014, it is evident that more must be done to continue to inform and educate all commercial organisations about the benefits – both to the bottom line and the environment – of baling and selling plastic packaging waste.

This could include policies on sorting and collection and perhaps more importantly, technology and equipment. Riverside Waste Machinery has been passionate about waste management for the last 16 years and has helped hundreds of companies across a huge range of industries to manage their waste processing procedures.

Commenting on the latest figures, managing director Jonathan Oldfield said: ‘Whilst kerbside collections by local authorities are the predominant method for retrieving plastics packaging in the UK, the difference that commercial waste could make to the figures cannot be underestimated.

‘These statistics are as eye watering as they are unnecessary and I would urge anyone with the responsibility for their company’s waste, no matter what the size of their waste stream, to review their policies and seek expert advice to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.’

Riverside Waste Machinery is one of the UK’s most trusted provider’s of waste balers and consumables. Its range includes the best selling RWM 250 which produces around 250kg bales of plastic packaging in a cycle time of just 34 seconds.