The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and producer compliance scheme Valpak are working together on two new projects that will review existing estimates of market flows and recycling levels for plastic and metal packaging in the UK.
Commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the projects will be led jointly by WRAP and Valpak to “improve market transparency” and information on plastic and metal packaging recovery and recycling in the UK while “identifying and evaluating possible risks to UK compliance this year, and in subsequent years”.
The MetalFlow 2014 project (which commenced earlier this year and had its first project steering group meeting earlier this month), will review estimates of metal packaging (specifically, steel and aluminium) placed on the market in the UK, with separate assessments of the amount of recycling and reprocessing.
The Plastic Market Flow 2014 project will start in March 2014 and review estimates of the amount of plastic packaging placed on the market. The scope of this project is reportedly still being finalised, and WRAP is currently recruiting key stakeholders to its project steering group.
The work has reportedly been commissioned in response to requests made to Defra (and WRAP) from both the metal packaging and plastic packaging industries to ‘ensure that Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland, Defra, and other government departments, have the highest confidence in the baseline information’ (against which EU packaging targets are assessed), and that it is based on comprehensive, robust, and up to date evidence.
Indeed, baseline estimates and projections for metal and plastic packaging market flows are currently based on assumed growth rates from historic baselines, rather than confirmed figures.
To help deliver these two projects, WRAP and Valpak have said they will “draw on the knowledge and data from trade bodies and other stakeholders including the Advisory Committee on Packaging [ACP] and The Environment Agency”.
It is thought MetalFlow 2014 and Plastic Market Flow 2014 will follow similar methodologies to those established in the review of glass packaging, GlassFlow, which was completed in 2012. It was in this report that Valpak found the statutory business targets for recycling glass for 2013-2017 were too high because “the revised flow (or consumption) of glass packaging on to the UK market… is significantly lower than that estimated earlier”.
According to the producer compliance scheme, this was because of a number of reasons including “assumptions around growth” and “the issuance of fraudulent packaging recovery notes”.