LDPE recycler Chase Plastics has warned of the ‘substantive threat’ that ‘widespread anti-plastic rhetoric’ poses to the UK plastic packaging industry.
The firm said the rush to alternative packaging formats ‘often ignores the lightweight, durable and hygienic properties of plastic’ in favour of packaging mediums that are ‘perceived to be more sustainable, but which may in fact have a greater environmental impact’.
David Harris of Chase Plastics said, “As consumers, we have all seen the recent shift from plastic to other packaging formats despite the well-known environmental benefits of plastic as a lightweight, high-performance packaging medium. It is vital that the plastics industry responds to this by highlighting the benefits of plastics packaging – especially that manufactured with recycled content – as a sustainable packaging format to both brand owners and consumers alike.”
Harris recommends that brands which are considering switching packaging materials should consider the full product lifecycle, taking into account the energy and water used in production of different mediums as well as end-of-life solutions.
“Where they find that plastic provides the best environmental solution, brand owners should highlight this to demonstrate that they are working with the most sustainable medium available for their application and not just following a trend,” he added.
Chase Plastics suggests that a lack of investment in national recycling infrastructure has contributed to Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) revenue exceeding expectations. With 60 years of plastics recycling experience, the company revealed it has seen investment in the UK’s plastics recycling capacity ‘lag behind’ the volumes being generated over this period.
“It will take time for our national recycling infrastructure to catch up with the demand for recycled content created by initiatives like the PPT and society’s increased environmental awareness,” Harris said. “At Chase Plastics, we support recent calls for PPT revenues to be reinvested to help fund a plastics recycling infrastructure that would reduce waste and support the UK’s circular economy.
“Plastic has a lot to offer. Durable and lightweight, it protects and preserves products to ensure they arrive in excellent condition following which it can be recycled for re-use. The Plastic Packaging Tax should be a mechanism that will help us transit from a linear (plastic) economy to a truly circular (plastic) economy so reinvestment of the revenue raised back into our plastics recycling infrastructure should be a priority.”