A new study, written by our policy team for WWF-UK and Resource Association, has recommended a levy on all virgin packaging to increase demand for recycled materials.

The report was launched at a Parliamentary Reception, sponsored by DS Smith Recycling, on Tuesday 20th November 2018.

Demand Recycled: Policy Options for Increasing the Demand for Post-Consumer Recycled Materials, has been launched against the backdrop of China’s recent decision to end imports of plastic waste and the reports of mis-management of recycling in the UK press, with the National Audit Office’s recent report concluding that the government does not check that exported material is actually recycled.

To improve recycling in the UK, our research recommends increasing the demand for post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) through use of a system combining a fee on packaging and products, with a refund, of the fee made to those who can demonstrate their use of secondary materials. The report suggests that improving the market for secondary materials would be a quick and effective step towards creating a circular economy.

Dr Lyndsey Dodds, Head of Marine Policy at WWF UK, said:

“Our oceans are choking on plastic, 90% of the world’s sea birds have fragments of plastic in their stomach. Despite the public outcry, more products are being made with virgin, or new, plastic than with recycled plastic.

“A new system is needed – where a levy on all packaging is used to reward those using the most recycled material – to incentivise the use of recycled material and support the target announced in the budget for a minimum of 30% recycled plastic in products. Nature is on life support, and we must act now to save it.”

Dominic Hogg, Chairman of Eunomia, said:

“We believe that the introduction of this mechanism could significantly increase the use of recycled plastic, as well as creating jobs here at home, by ensuring materials collected in the UK for recycling are properly used as a resource. This is the kind of mechanism we hope the Treasury will be looking at – it has already indicated its interest in this area with the proposed tax on plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled material.

Recycled Materials

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of Resource Association, said:

“All parts of the resources supply chain for too long have talked in general terms about the need to boost demand for recycled material and use demand-pull measures to develop the markets to assist in reaching higher recycling targets.  This report now adds a real level of detail to this discussion with some much-needed fresh thinking.  The Resource Association was delighted to collaborate with WWF-UK in commissioning this work from Eunomia as a contribution to the wider, detailed debate that is now needed.”

Recycled Materials

The report was launched at the Resource Association’s Parliamentary Reception on 20th November.  The event was hosted by Alex Sobel, Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, who addressed the meeting alongside Jochen Behr, Head of Recycling at DS Smith, our Chairman Dominic Hogg, WWF-UK’s Toby Roxburgh and Resource Association’s Ray Georgeson.

Recycled Materials   Recycled Materials