Recycling and waste infrastructure 'creaking' says report

Recycling and waste infrastructure 'creaking' says report

The UK’s recycling infrastructure is not set up to cope with packaging materials from a growth in online retail, packaging manufacturer DS Smith has claimed.

The company's Tipping Point report suggess that the UK will not meet a 65 per cent municipal waste recycling target until 2048 – more than a decade after the EU Circular Economy Package’s 2035 goal.

According to the report, the UK is now the third largest B2C e-commerce market in the world, with around 18 per cent of all retail sales in the UK now made online.

1.9 billion parcels are delivered directly to doors across the UK every year. Within 10 years, the number of parcels will have grown by over 50 per cent, numbers quoted in the report suggest.

Jochen Behr, Head of Recycling at DS Smith, said:

"The UK’s waste infrastructure is creaking as budgets for all waste management services have fallen significantly since 2011 across much of the country. It is no surprise that the overall UK recycling performance has stagnated over this period.

"However, if recycling operations did improve, we still have a huge challenge in educating the public. With a myriad of different recycling policies across our local councils, we should not really be surprised.

"As a business that operates a circular supply cycle for paper-based packaging, DS Smith witnesses first-hand the powerful benefits of keeping resources in use for longer, reducing costs, and limiting the impact on the environment.

"We also see the result of poor recycling systems. Our ability as a re-processor of paper and cardboard is inhibited by poor collection systems at a local authority level, with underfunded and inconsistent systems leaving a poor quality of materials that is difficult to recycle.

"There is a need for a new way of thinking on recycling. We believe that our industry has a huge role to play in leading the way forward. As a business, our purpose is Redefining Packaging for a Changing World. That’s why we have commissioned this report with Central Saint Martins, UAL to bring new thinking to the recycling challenges we all face."