WRAP and Valpak research paper and card packaging flows

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and compliance scheme Valpak have announced that they will undertake new research into paper and card packaging flows.

The project, which follows on from a similar collaborative report on the market flow of glass, and metals and plastic packaging, will estimate the amount of paper and card packaging placed on the UK market, and the amount recycled, recovered, or sent to landfill for the period 2014-2020.

It is hoped that the report will provide the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) with ‘robust and independent’ data on UK recycling performance.

Valpak has now established a steering group made of industry, Defra and Environment Agency members to oversee and provide insights into the outputs, and help achieve the objectives of the work. It is expected that the report will be released in ‘early 2016’.

Simon Weston of the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) commented: “The paper industry has for a long time been a leading material in recycling and this work will provide valuable insight not only into the amount of material in the UK but also help identify where improvements can be made.”

The paper and card recycling industries have been under a period of change recently, with declining paper sales and difficulties in securing high-quality paper recyclate leading to paper recycler and newsprint manufacturer Aylesford Newsprint Limited entering administration earlier this year. However, the card recycling industry has been bolstered in recent years, largely due to an increase in the amount of cardboard packaging being used, thanks to the rise of online shopping.

Those wishing to contribute to the project are being asked to email Kathy Illingworth at Valpak.

Alupro to find ‘real aluminium recycling rate’

The WRAP/Valpak report is the latest research project being undertaken to establish materials recycling rates.

Last month, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) announced that it was commissioning Resource Futures to ascertain ‘the real aluminium packaging recycling figure’, as official recovery data shows low levels of reporting.

According to the trade association for the UK's aluminium industry on issues relating to the recycling, the latest figures reported to the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) for the second quarter of 2015 (Q2) show that there are low levels of aluminium packaging recycling.

However, Alupro stated that as the current packaging recovery note (PRN) system requires voluntary accreditation by reprocessors and exporters – and a ‘significant number’ of these have not maintained their accreditation due to the process being ‘too onerous’ and low value – there are large quantities of recycled packaging that are not being captured by the reporting system, and thus the aluminium packaging recycling rate ‘appears weaker than the reality’.

In an attempt to clarify the ‘true recycling rate’, it has commissioned environmental consultancy Resource Futures to research how much aluminium packaging is reprocessed or exported beyond that reported by the accredited organisations.

Find out more about the Alupro/Resource Futures research.

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