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Environment

Packaging recyclability under scrutiny

A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that clearer packaging labels and higher charges are needed to meet the necessary recycling rates.

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Clearer packaging labels and higher charges are being recommended

According to Smithers Pira, the global flexible packaging market is set to reach $269bn (£204bn) by 2024, meaning a wealth of growth opportunities for packaging manufacturers in the print industry.

However, with more than 20 different recycling labels in the UK currently appearing on packaging, the LGA describes recycling labels as “often unclear and conflicting” and says this confusion leads to packaging being sent to landfill that could be recycled.

This is a similar problem to one that food and drink packaging company, RawPac is trying to address in which consumers believe it is okay to drop packaging labelled ‘compostable’ on the floor.

RawPac is campaigning for clearer labelling as the material actually requires specialist recycling facilities to break it down effectively.

The LGA is calling for the government to increase charges for manufacturers to ensure that end of life costs are covered for councils dealing with packaging that is difficult to recycle. The association hopes this will also encourage manufacturers to consider sustainable alternatives.

Councils want to increase recycling rates. Clearer labelling and increased charges for hard to recycle products would help councils, manufacturers and the public be part of a vital recycling revolution

Local councils across the UK have been implementing their own tactics to address the issue of recycling, with Swindon Borough Council becoming one of the first councils in the country to implement a compulsory recycling policy.

Waste Wardens are on hand to provide help and advice to those struggling with recycling and for those who do not adhere to the policy, their collections will be suspended. As a result, the council’s recycling rate has risen from 38% to 42%.

Councillor David Renard who is an LGA Environment spokesman says: “Councils want to increase recycling rates. Clearer labelling and increased charges for hard to recycle products would help councils, manufacturers and the public be part of a vital recycling revolution.

“If we are serious about improving recycling rates, then the next government needs to commit to reforms that ensure producers pay the full cost of recycling packaging. More importantly, manufacturers need to reduce waste at the point of source to stop unnecessary and unrecyclable material becoming an issue in the first place.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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