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The “Dirty Business” of recycling

In the last week, the Sky News documentary, Dirty Business, has been in the news for all the right reasons.

For those who haven’t had a chance to watch the insightful and compelling documentary, it has been released on Sky News’ YouTube channel and is embedded at the bottom of this blog to watch now.

At Ecosurety, we’ve been heartened to see the issue of PRN transparency finally being taken seriously in the mainstream news media. What happens to our waste is an issue we flagged within our industry a few years ago.

In fact, the similarity between the documentary’s tone and the first section of our Circularety video is striking. “We can’t really be sure what’s happening with that money” is what I said back in 2016 and the same is true today.

System not designed for today’s issues

As Zac Goldsmith commented at a recent Environmental Audit Committee on our behalf, “The UK is nowhere near ready to recycle the additional plastics at home.” But why? Well, the PRN system was created in 1997 with very different objectives. It was designed to have a low impact on business and meet EU targets.

Sky News showed their frustration that the current system favours exports over domestic recycling in the film. While it may be equally as frustrating that it has taken this long for others to share our view, it is immeasurably more exciting to see how many now agree with us.

Alternative thinking required

We felt like a lone voice when we launched an alternative approach to funding packaging recycling but now the momentum is gathering. We believe that the PRN system can be re-designed to secure better environmental outcomes, ensuring greater investment in innovation, infrastructure and awareness.

Our pioneering approach has led to us being granted audiences with individuals and institutions that once saw us as a fringe group. If society, business and Government really want to change how we deal with waste, they will need to keep talking to us innovative thinkers, because as the computer science phrase goes, “rubbish in, rubbish out”.

Watch now

 


Robbie Staniforth

Innovation and policy director

Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.


Written by Robbie Staniforth Published 02/02/2018 Topics Sustainability

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