New BPF document highlights vital role of plastic in a sustainable future

17 June, 21

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has published a comprehensive new document, Plastics Explained: Exploring the Key Topics, which examines why plastic needs to be thought of more like a valuable resource and how it has a vital role to play as society works towards lowering carbon emissions. It is designed to be a useful reference tool for those working both inside and outside the plastics industry.

Plastics Explained includes facts and figures about the UK plastics industry, details the key role of the industry in a sustainable future and highlights the necessary steps that need to be taken to improve recycling in the UK. The document also takes a thorough look at the complexities surrounding many key plastic-related topics including deposit return schemes, consistent kerbside collections, extended producer responsibility, marine litter and chemical recycling.

The document suggests:

The UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible without plastic, as the material is not only essential for things like insulation, lightweight vehicles and wind turbines but also because alternative materials are often heavier and require more resources to produce, which can lead to increased emissions.
All plastic packaging needs to be collected for recycling to develop a circular economy and simplify the current system.
Money raised by the plastic packaging tax should be reinvested to address the lack of suitable collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure for plastic in the UK.
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; biobased, biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics as a solution to littering; microplastics.

BPF Director General Philip Law states:

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.

The full report can be viewed or downloaded for free at:

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