Fears that the UK may fail to hit its 2001 packaging waste targets have been founded as a 2% shortfall on the 50% overall recovery target became evident.

After much speculation triggered by the failure of compliance scheme Wastepack to meet its own targets for 2001 (see May PTI ), the truth emerged out of a parliamentary question on the 14 May.

Environment minister Michael Meacher admitted that the UK had narrowly failed to meet the 2001 target.

Although the UK has met its overall recycling targets and material specific recycling targets, including plastics.

The Environment Agency and SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) reported that one compliance scheme and a number of individually registered businesses had failed to meet their tonnage recovery and recycling targets, leaving a total shortfall of 263 832 tonnes.

Wastepack, who’s discrepancy made 240 000 tonnes, says that its 2001 compliance plan, as submitted to SEPA, had been fully implemented – this included buying more than the 120 000 PRNs originally specified. It blames the UK’s failure to hit targets on PRN revenue being mainly used to support existing recycling activity rather than build additional essential infrastructure.

“The UK is also heading to fail the 2006 recycling targets if simple reforms to the PRN system are not carried out,” added Wastepack chief executive Paul Ashworth.