The re-evaluation comes after a 2014 study carried out by Valpak and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that estimates for plastic packaging use were higher than in reality. The research implies that Defra could reduce the target percentages set for plastic recycling by producers and yet still meet longterm targets.
At present, the the plastic recycling target set by Defra for producers is a 52 per cent recycling rate in 2016, rising to 57 per cent in 2017. The target for glass recycling by producers is set at 77 per cent.
As a result of the conference – which was held on December 23, 2015 – there were five new options proposed:
1. Do not amend plastic targets, and keep it at 57 per cent until 2020
2. Amend the existing plastic target to 48 per cent for 2016, and then increase it by one per cent each year until 2020
3. Amend the existing plastic target to 49 per cent for 2016, and then increase it by two per cent each year until 2020
4. Do not amend the existing glass target, and then keep it at 77 per cent until 2020
5. Do not amend the existing glass target, and then increase it by one per cent until 2020
A final decision has yet to be reached, but Defra have confirmed that they prefer the third option for plastic recycling, while some believe that a reduction in the targets would send out “poor signals”.