Report: Infrastructure not ready for single-use plastic ban

The UK’s waste management infrastructure is not yet ready to deliver nationwide solutions for the upcoming single-use plastic ban.

A report by Reconomy found there isn’t a solution for compostable product collections, recycling of all types of plastics or recycling of items made up of a mix of materials such as tetra pak and crisp packets.

The report comes ahead of the upcoming single-use plastics ban on 1 October 2023 which will mean businesses are no longer allowed to supply single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls to members of the public as well as ready-to-consume food and drink in polystyrene containers, single-use cutlery and balloon sticks.

Reconomy head of sustainability Nathan Gray said: “This is a pivotal moment for the circular economy as the UK implements a widespread ban on single-use plastics.

It is a signal that business models must change to exploit making products that last longer, are repairable, could be leased, and are designed for circularity.

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“If we link circular strategies to new business practices, together we can unlock greater value and reduce climate impacts,” added Gray.

To improve areas the report authors are calling for more reuse models and ensure recyclability of the ‘must haves’ plastics.

It also called for greater collaboration across the waste supply chain to support customers and to look at alternative packaging which is fully recyclable and managed in the current infrastructure.

“Strong policy action, however, must be met with similarly robust investment in the UK’s waste management infrastructure to deliver the services businesses need to improve their recycling processes,” Gray continued.

“The greater uptake of reuse models and sector-wide collaboration in tandem with the clamp down on single use plastic will undoubtedly drive improvements.”

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNewsReports and dataRetailSupply Chain

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