After failing to meet the 2001 packaging waste target, the UK appears to have reached the 2002 target set at 50%, according to provisional figures released last month by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A review into accuracy and compliance, however, could still change the picture.
The figures suggest that an overall recovery rate of 53.6% was achieved from a total of 9 508 841 tonnes of packaging waste in the waste stream. This represents a rise of 5.7% over the 2001 figure, which was 47.9%.
Ian Dent, chief executive of the Packaging Federation, said: “The 2002 results were pretty much in line with expectation but, until the review comes out, we can’t get a completely accurate picture.”
Probes into the accuracy of some areas of reported recycling rates could mean that the final recovery rate faces some adjustment.
“We would of course like to think that this is an accurate representation of the recycling rate for post-consumer, plastics packaging waste but there are reports of possible inappropriate issue of PRNs in this sector too. Defra officials are pursuing this with industry bodies.”
Wood packaging remains under scrutiny. The sector has leapt from 57% in 2001 – thought suspicious then – to 83.6% in 2002. It is currently being investigated by the UK environment agencies.
Under the spotlight is plastics packaging, which has seen another sharp rise to 22.6% from last year’s surprising result of 16%.
Speaking at the Recoup agm, held this June, Richard Bird, Defra director of environment, quality and waste, said: “We would of course like to think that this is an accurate representation of the recycling rate for post-consumer, plastics packaging waste but there are reports of possible inappropriate issue of PRNs in this sector too. Defra officials are pursuing this with industry bodies.”
A UK consultation on changes to the Regulations is planned for this month, as the European Parliament votes on a common position for the new Packaging Waste Directive.