New online tool monitors uptake of recycled polymers
Aiming to create a more sustainable circular economy in the plastics sector, the platform – entitled ‘Monitoring Recyclates for Europe (MORE)’ – is designed to track the volume of recycled polymers used by plastics-converting companies to create new products, reflecting the UK’s progress in the uptake of recycled polymers.
MORE is now available to British plastics-converting companies, where they can register and submit the volumes of recycled polymers used in their products and help move the industry towards reaching the EU target of 10 million tonnes of recycled polymers being used annually between 2025 and 2030.
The UK is the 13th country in the European Union to offer the platform to the industry after an official Partnership Agreement was signed in London on Monday (11 November).
MORE collects data on recycled polymers that can be produced either through mechanical or chemical recycling, focusing on three categories of recycled polymers: post-consumer waste, commercial waste, and post-industrial waste.
To avoid double counting and ensure companies don’t exaggerate their uptake of recycled polymers, the platform has VAT number registration. Companies also have the option to include information on whether the volumes of recycled polymers that they are using have been externally verified and which form of verification has been used.
The use of recycled content and the strengthening of markets for secondary materials is a key part of a circular economy and has been promoted in various pieces of government policy over the past couple of years and the industry has responded with investment.
Last year, it was reported by Green Alliance that only a third of plastics were collected for recycling in the UK, and only nine per cent of those were recycled domestically. Green Alliance’s report estimated that recycled plastics could provide 71 per cent of the raw material needed by UK manufacturers of plastic packaging and products.
Taking this on board, last year’s Autumn Statement revealed that a plastics tax will be placed on the manufacture and import of packaging containing less than 30 per cent recycled plastic and one of the key targets outlined in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018 is to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
The 2025 commitment is echoed by the industry-led UK Plastics Pact, which also commits to 70 per cent of all plastic packaging being effectively recycled or composted and achieving 30 per cent recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025.
Further developments this year include a declaration by The Circular Plastics Alliance, committing to using 10 million tonnes of recycled plastic in new products by 2025.
Moreover, a recent survey conducted by Viridor revealed that 85 per cent of people believe that the UK should recycle and reprocess plastic waste at home, again highlighting the demand for change in the waste management industry and prompting Viridor to announce that from next year it will be processing all of its plastic waste domestically.
Commenting on the platform’s launch, EuPC Managing Director Alexandre Dangis said: “We are delighted to present our digital platform to the plastics converting community in the United Kingdom. Our industry has the opportunity to showcase its efforts towards a circular plastics economy in Europe and be transparent on the volumes of recycled polymers they use in converting infrastructures.
“We are very happy that the United Kingdom will join the effort and work together with us and other national coordinators to achieve the target of 10 million tonnes recycled polymers used annually between 2025 and 2030.”
BPF Director General Philip Law added: “The plastics industry in the UK has been working to integrate more recycled content into its products and we are very happy to be making MORE available within the UK. Participation in the platform is key to its success and we urge companies to help us develop this valuable data so we can understand and communicate the UK’s progress.”
A video explaining how the MORE platform works is available on YouTube.