Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Resource Association welcomed today’s long-awaited publication of A Green Future, the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. In a reaction focused on the key elements affecting our sector, primarily Chapter 4 on Increasing Resource Efficiency, the Association warmly welcomed the Government’s recognition that environmental regulation can have positive economic impacts and well as positive environmental outcomes. We welcomed the understanding of the potential for the Industrial Strategy to deliver a more circular economy and the need for better design of products to aid recycling. We warmly welcomed the acknowledgement of the need to be “returning high quality materials back to the economy” and that “this will help stimulate internal UK markets and support strong secondary materials markets as well as exports abroad.”

Commenting, Chief Executive Ray Georgeson said:

“As a statement of intent with a long-term approach, the 25 Year Environment Plan has much to commend it, with the seal of approval from the Prime Minister very important in what proved to be the most substantial environmental speech from a PM for over a decade. Many of the signals give encouragement to our industry but frankly, our nation is and should be capable of so much more than this in terms of real time specifics, targets and legislative underpinning.”

“Ours is an industry that has grown and responded well to a regulatory framework and target-based approach built over a generation. Current challenges – including climate change, marine plastic pollution, recycling market development in the UK – all require more detail, urgency and intensity than perhaps is expressed in the document. Ending ‘avoidable’ plastic waste by 2042 simply feels too far away and surely our industries, councils and supply chain can prove to government that we can help to make this deadline a much shorter one and fully embrace our potential global leadership role on this critical issue?” 

“However, many Ministerial messages have been very strong recently - we welcome this and take them at their word that they are serious about tackling these great challenges and we stand ready to join forces.”

“Clearly, much now will be expected from the development of the Resources and Waste Strategy during these next months. In gathering evidence for this new Strategy, we hope the Government keeps an open mind on the potential for a clearer, tighter regulatory approach where this may be genuinely useful and relies less on retreads of voluntary agreements that have either partially succeeded over lengthy timescales or have completely failed us in the past. We look forward to the new Strategy taking a holistic view of the ‘circular resource economy’. 



  1. The Resource Association focuses on championing the value of UK reprocessing and recycling in terms of employment, resource efficiency and integrity, carbon reduction and our role in the low-carbon, green economy. It works with Governments across the UK, the European Commission, other trade associations and stakeholders with shared interests. Our member companies and organisations represent an estimated £3.3bn contribution to UK GDP, the recovery and recycling of over 7 million tonnes annually and the employment of over 12,500 people. Further information at www.resourceassociation.com
  2. The Government’s 25 year Environment Plan documents are here at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan
  3. In our press statement last Friday 5th January on China and Plastics, we outlined a simple five-point list of potential regulatory measures that could have beneficial impact on plastics recycling in the UK – we see a more interventionist regulatory approach as legitimate in this area of public policy and should include the following:
  • Mandatory recycled content for various plastic products, taking account of environmental benefits and food safety considerations;
  • A new programme of R&D and enhanced tax credits support for investment in manufacturing technology to support the use of recyclate as a primary input;
  • Mandatory design guidelines for plastic packaging products sold on the UK market;
  • Action through trading standards to ban certain single-use plastic products; and
  • Introduce reforms to producer responsibility that include incentives for the use of recycled content with levies on non-recyclable products, with any funds generated used for new communications and collections action.