Plastic recycled in the UK could increase by 3.5 times by 2030, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) has said in its 2021 Recycling Roadmap.
The report by the BPF, published yesterday (12 January), highlights what the UK needs to achieve if it is to reduce the reliance on exporting plastic waste for recycling and to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill by 1% by 2030.
It suggests that the UK could eliminate reliance on low quality exports of plastic waste in the next ten years, and in doing so, more than halve the amount of plastic waste being exported.
In addition to investment in UK recycling systems, the report calls for there to be the same plastic waste collection schemes across all local authorities, such as the kerbside collection of plastic film, increases in the use of recycled material in new products and better communication to the public about what can be recycled.
The BPF added that new technologies will also need to expand, estimating that if chemical recycling and other new recycling methods are proven to work “at scale”, the amount of material processed this way could increase by 60 times.
These new recycling technologies could mean that the UK would be able to process three hundred kilotons of plastic waste per year by 2030, including hard-recycle-plastics like plastic film.
The report also outlines how in order to increase domestic recycling capacity, recycling rates need to increase for a range of plastic products used in a variety of sectors, rather than just packaging.
Philip Law, director general of the BPF, said: “The BPF Recycling Roadmap shows that with the right collaborative effort, we have the potential to be a leading light when it comes to rapidly developing the technology and infrastructure to recycle far more plastic.”
“Drastically reducing our reliance on exporting plastic waste for recycling and the amount of plastic waste going to landfill is achievable and this roadmap shows how. Most importantly, there needs to be significant investment in increasing UK recycling capacity.”
A foreword from Environment minister Rebecca Pow, said: “The 2030 British Plastics Federation’s vision sets out a clear pathway for progress, including an increase in recycling rates, minimal reliance on landfill and no exports of low-quality material. I am pleased to say this vision aligns with the government’s own Resources and Waste Strategy. Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the strategy.”