As a member of the UK Plastics Pact, ReNew ELP is pleased to see the progress made on recycling as reported by the Pact’s convenor, WRAP, today.
We support all of the measures being brought to bear on reducing plastic waste; particularly those applicable to single use items such as cotton buds and straws, which can be eliminated at source. The ambition to reduce problematic items should see a welcome reduction in over 400million items by the end of 2020.
For plastic packaging placed on the market, achieving a 50% recycling rate does feel like a significant milestone for the UK. Without doubt, the collected efforts of the whole value chain is helping to make progress, including design for recyclability, and consumer engagement.
The report notes, however, that film and flexible packaging remains the single biggest challenge for The Pact. Together it represents around one quarter of all consumer packaging placed onto the market, yet only 6% is currently collected for recycling. Being able to process this material would enable the recycling rate to grow to over 70%, but there are challenges with collection, separating and processing this material, which is often contaminated with food or personal care product.
As a processor that can take this material, ReNew ELP strongly supports the efforts involved with improving the recycling of this material and converting it into valuable hydrocarbon feedstock. Working with local authorities on their kerbside waste and with retailers’ front of store collections, we can recycle post-consumer flexible plastics using our hydrothermal upgrading process (Cat-HTRTM) to create recycled feedstock that is suitable for food contact, whilst supporting the Government’s drive to achieve 30% recycled feedstock in packaging.
We also support WRAP’s view that greater investment in the advanced recycling sector is essential, to allow it to grow to the capacity needed. ReNew ELP’s first plant will operate at 20,000 tonnes pa, growing to 80,000 tonnes within 3 years. With the increased dependence on single use plastic in 2020 through Covid-19, more than ever we need effective the recycling of plastics – a valuable resource with the potential for a fully circular lifespan – but only if the UK invests the resources needed. As the report states, the UK is ‘blazing a trail’ on plastic recycling, and with advanced recycling, we can create a world-leading sector that will address the plastic waste problem, prevent environmental pollution, create value from waste and help to support our net-zero ambitions.
To read the full report, click here.
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