Technological watch

BPF document focuses on sustainability of plastic

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has published a document discussing the role of plastics in helping lower carbon emissions for individuals working both inside and outside the plastics industry.

Plastics Explained: Exploring the Key Topics includes facts and figures about the UK plastics industry, detailing the role of the industry in a sustainable future and the steps required to improve recycling in the UK. It covers plastic-related topics including deposit return schemes, consistent kerbside collections, extended producer responsibility, marine litter and chemical recycling, and discusses 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; biobased, biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics as a solution to littering; microplastics.

According to the BPF, the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible without plastic, as the material can be used to make insulation, lightweight vehicles and wind turbines and because alternative materials are often heavier and require more resources to produce, which can lead to increased emissions.

However, the organization notes that all plastic packaging should be collected for recycling to develop a circular economy and simplify the current system, with any money raised by a plastic packaging tax reinvested to address the lack of suitable collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure for plastic in the UK.

‘Plastic will play a key part in all our futures, as it is vital to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions,’ said BPF director General Philip Law. ‘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.’

The document can be found here.

This story uses material from the BFP, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

Publication date: 18/06/2021

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This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.