New document highlights ‘vital’ role of plastics in a net zero future

THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has published a new document which examines the ‘vital’ role plastic can play in the move towards lowering carbon emissions.

Plastics Explained: Exploring the Key Topics, is designed to be a reference tool for those working both inside and outside the plastics industry. The document details the role of the sector in a sustainable future and highlights the necessary steps that need to be taken to improve recycling in the UK.

Also explored are the ‘complexities’ surrounding plastic-related topics including deposit return schemes, consistent kerbside collections, extended producer responsibility, marine litter and chemical recycling.

The document reveals that the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible without plastic, as the material is essential for the likes of insulation, lightweight vehicles and wind turbines. Suggestions include simplifying the current recycling system for plastic packaging and using money raised by the plastic packaging tax to address the lack of suitable collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure.

Plastics Explained also covers taxing plastic packaging based upon the amount of recycled content; split targets and PRN reform; exporting plastic waste for recycling; fraud and waste crime; open and closed loop recycling; bio-based, biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics as a solution to littering; and microplastics.

BPF director general Philip Law said, “Everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable society and the plastics industry obviously has a role too. It is constantly innovating to reduce its environmental impact. Plastic will play a key part in all our futures, as it is vital to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

“In the same way we value the modern comfort and safety it brings, as our document suggests, we’d like to encourage people to think of plastic as a valuable resource to be kept in functional use for as long as possible. Plastics Explained covers a broad range of topics and we are confident it will prove useful as an easy means of getting to grips with these.”