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Recycling Targets ‘Too High’, Says Packaging Industry

It doesn’t matter whether your items are parcelled using the results of the best bespoke packaging service in the land or simply placed in a cardboard box, as the fact is that retailing and mailing items creates waste that is destined for the rubbish tip — or maybe not if the EU has its way.

Recycling Targets Too High

There is much talk within the packaging world right now about the European Union’s proposed new waste recycling targets, with many experts, from those involved in packaging bespoke services to those on the shop floor, feeling that the targets are too tough and unattainable.

The idea is that by 2030 80 per cent of all packaging waste materials will be recycled. It is hoped that this will be achieved by implementing sliding increases: 60 per cent in 2020, going up to 70 per cent by 2025. There is also set to be individual targets for specific materials as part of a waste-prevention programme. This means that only ten per cent of all glass, aluminium, ferrous metal and paper packaging materials will not be required to be recycled or made ready for reuse by 2030. There will also be a ban on all recyclable waste in landfill by 2025.

Experts such as Packaging Federation chief executive Dick Searle are concerned about the financial implications of meeting the targets for packaging companies. Mr Searle said that the targets would require that every item of packaging material produced was collected when it became waste — a practice that would be incredibly expensive and would probably not even be possible. Other practicalities of the proposals have also been questioned, such as how the waste would be collected and by whom.

There appears to be a consensus among industry professionals, then, that the targets are unachievable, and there is hope that the EU will lower the levels as a result of the feedback received. It is also seen as important that other countries in Europe reach the same levels of recycling as Britain already has. Packaging professionals have already been in contact with the British government and have said that it seems ‘receptive’ to the industry views.

The industry is now calling for new recycling incentives and is urging the EU to consider the quality of packaging materials and not just the quantity. It is also hoped that the push for greater recycling will not in the end lead to the environment suffering even more than it currently does as a result of things such as the export of waste.

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