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Plastics Market Situation Report - Spring 2016

The resource efficiency experts at WRAP released this in-depth report on the latest economic, market and regulatory trends affecting the capture, recycling and reprocessing of plastics in the United Kingdom. A follow-up on the previous Plastics Market Situation Report published in 2011, the Spring 2016 edition provides an update on key developments over the past few years.

The key themes include:

  • Significant improvements by local authorities;
  • Concerns that future targets may not be met;
  • Finding sustainable end markets for non-bottle rigid plastics;
  • Operation Green Fence, which resulted in stricter enforcement of Chinese import controls over the quality of imported recovered material;
  • Plastic bottle prices
  • The vulnerability of plastic recyclers; and
  • Recycling infrastructure.

The report concludes that over the past five years, there has been a sharp increase in plastic bottle recycling, and applauds the improvements made by local authorities and the recycling industry - such as the introduction of mixed plastic recycling collections - as well as efforts from brands and retailers, such as the light-weighting of plastic packaging. This progress aids the industry in achieving a circular economy for plastics, however, the report asserts that more still needs to be done.

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