UK to use compostable packaging to reach Zero Waste 2025
The #UK has announced it's latest initiative to combat the growing plastic pollution problem. The #UKPlasticPact pledges that 100% of plastic packaging will be #reusable, #recyclable or #compostable, with a target of 70% of that packaging to be effectively recycled or composted by 2025.
There is a demonstrable need for compostable packaging, especially when the packaging can be used to capture #foodwaste that would otherwise end up in the residual stream. The study has found that there could be an increase in the compostable packaging market from 10,000 tonnes to over 100,000 tonnes. The UK currently produces 10 million tonnes per annum of food waste so the compostable packaging market would represent 1% of this.
The report identifies that a significant economic benefit could be achieved through cost reductions in collections and processing costs for those hard to recycle plastics, such as those heavily contaminated with food waste or multilayer plastics. At end of life, their analysis estimates a 12% lower net cost associated with recovery systems for biopolymer materials (£100/tonne) compared to virgin material recovery (£112/tonne).
On the environmental front their analysis showed that, the #CO2e emitted by PLA compostable packaging is more than 50% lower than that emitted by traditional LDPE when it is contaminated with food and cannot be recycled.
They added that consistent, clear labeling and a nation wide food collection service will be important in aiding the uptake and proper disposal of compostable packing, enabling the UK to effectively benefit from their unique qualities
It is also important to highlight that the adoption of compostable packaging is not a solution in itself. The plastic packaging system also needs a higher #recycling rate. The effective plastics system of the future will have different polymers playing different roles, while the adoption of compostable or conventional plastic needs to take a whole-system approach which considers both the role of the packaging and its end of life.