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Significant investment needed for producers to meet recycling targets, says Cambrian Packaging

A UK plastic packaging company has said that without significant investment in recycling infrastructure, producers will be unable to meet future targets.

Cambrian Packaging, based in Newtown, Wales, has been tracking the progress of the Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill which, if passed, would require producers of plastic packaging to assume 100% of the responsibility for their collection, transportation, recycling, disposal, treatment and recovery. This is only around 10% at present.

Following the Bill’s parliamentary debate, Lloyd Harvey, Sales Executive at Cambrian Packaging, said: “That’s all well and good, but we simply cannot meet that level of recycling if there isn’t the capacity to do it. We need to see investment at national level in addition to a public education programme to change behaviours.”

The debate on April 3 was led by Anna McMorrin, MP for Cardiff North and member of the Environmental Audit Committee, who put forward the Bill. She said charges on producers should be modulated, varying based on the recyclability of packaging, with higher fees for using more environmentally damaging materials.

Ms McMorrin told fellow MPs: “The issue needs structural, systemic change at Government and industry level. To do that, we need to legislate to incentivise big business and packaging producers to take responsibility for their waste and ensure the right infrastructure is there.”

Cambrian Packaging has already taken steps this year to help reduce plastic waste by donating £3,000 towards The Globe Foundation’s Litterbug Project. The money has funded a machine which will recycle single-use plastics and transform them into reusable items.

Mr Harvey said: “Until there is a realistic and commercially sound plan to scale up our national recycling capacity to meet the ideals, discussion on what section of industry, government or society underwrites the cost involved is academic.”

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which is currently under consultation, sets out four options:  an ‘enhanced business as usual’ approach, a ‘single management organisation’, a separate scheme for household and commercial packaging and a ‘deposit-based government managed system’, where producers would be charged an upfront fee for packaging, redeemable once it is recycled.

Cambrian Packaging offers products in its Ecycle™ material, which is rHDPE (100% recycled plastic). All of the bottles, caps, pails, tubs and lids stocked are recyclable, along with most of the trigger heads. Cambrian is also looking into 100% plastic lotion pumps.