Higher targets requiring businesses to increase the proportion of packaging waste recycled and recovered in the three years to 2010 were announced by DEFRA in January 2008.
But in recent months, firms have expressed concerns that the recession would leave them struggling to meet 2009’s tougher targets. Obligations are based on the amount of packaging handled in the previous year. The concern is that the amount of recycling will decline, causing the price of obtaining evidence to rise and, for some materials, lead to a shortfall.
In February, steelmaker Corus announced it would not recycle any packaging waste for at least the first half of 2009. In addition, this year 31 fewer reprocessors and exporters of packaging waste have applied for accreditation to issue evidence under the regime compared to 2008.
Nevertheless, authorities are watching the markets closely. On Friday, the Environment Agency wrote to reprocessors and exporters requesting that data submissions on recycling and recovery activities are made monthly, rather than quarterly. It says “early access to the data could allow DEFRA to respond more quickly to any changes in the market.”