In 2017 50% of our packaging recycling evidence came from UK suppliers. A huge amount of work has been undertaken in 2017, and continues today, to develop relationships with UK recyclers in order to support domestic recycling infrastructure and reduce our reliance on export PRNs. Our ambitions are not without significant challenge however.
As the size of our scheme grows our commitment to UK recycling evidence will become more difficult to implement as there is currently not enough capacity to reprocess all of our waste domestically (see our news story Not enough plastic recycling plants in the UK).
Coupled with investment in UK infrastructure, this commitment will prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste from being exported. This will not only allow more transparency of waste treatment, the environmental impact reduction is significant also. Assuming it would otherwise be exported to China, the CO2 savings from transportation alone are huge.
*Assuming waste is shipped from UK to Hong Kong by container ship.
C02 calculation: https://www.ecta.com/resources/Documents/Best%20Practices%20Guidelines/guideline_for_measuring_and_managing_co2.pdf
Fast forward to today and the hot topic of single-use packaging and producer responsibility have been thrust well and truly into the public consciousness. The government are assessing the need for reform and industry groups are lobbying for a raft of conflicting changes to legislation.
The truth is that when it came to it, the market wasn't quite ready for the product we launched in 2016 - but it really doesn't matter. Crucially we have shown that compliance should not be viewed as little more than a tax with no tangible benefit.
Producers are now demanding full transparency of their PRN investment and reassurance that it is actually benefiting UK recycling.
And the concept of Circularety lives on. Indeed it has very much become our ethos and thankfully the wider industry knows it must now change, which is why we continue to actively work with industry stakeholders who can help drive positive change forward.