Plastics are part of modern life, and are not going away anytime soon. But if we do not manage them properly, they can be of harm to not just to us individually, but the biodiversity and ecosystem of Earth. Plastic pollution is not a new problem, but it has been getting worse year on year. Plastic production is now 22 times higher than it was 50 years ago, yet it is reported that in 2015 only approximately 9 percent of plastic was recycled. Every year, across the planet we are producing over 300 million tonnes of plastic waste. It is estimated that about 8 million tonnes of this ends up in our oceans.
As well as the plastic that ends up in our oceans, the British Plastics Federation estimates that 46% of the UK’s plastic waste ends up being incinerated, 17% goes into landfill, while only 10% in recycled within the UK. The rest is exported around the world, supposedly for recycling but it is difficult to know exactly where it goes.
We have seen more and more companies and individuals taking action on this and putting bans in place on single use plastics such as food wrappers, however with the ever growing plastics industry, as well as COVID-19 causing an increase in single use plastics, everybody must now work harder than ever to cut down on their plastic waste.
Here at Plastic Supplies Dudley Ltd, we are doing everything we can to reduce the amount of waste that is being produced. We have recently invested in new machine side granulators to create closed loop circuits on our machines. This enables up to granulate the sprues and put the material straight back in to be used again. All waste plastic that is not able to be used on site, is sent off to a recycling company, who will granulate the waste themselves and sell it on as reprocessed material. We aim to not send any plastic waste produced on site to landfill.
With the upcoming tax coming into force on plastic packaging from April 2022, the need to be able to reuse our waste plastic is essential to our business. It means all our overclosure lids will have to either be made from at least 30% recycled plastic, or we will be charged a tax of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging that we produce. The plastic packaging tax is an environmental tax that is hoped to provide a financial incentive for business to use more recycled material. It is envisaged that this will create a greater demand for recycled plastics within the industry, which in return will increase levels of recycling of plastics as well as diverting it away from landfill.
This new tax is primarily based at manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging, but everyone has their part to play in making sure it is possible to get hold of recycled plastics. Currently it is fairly difficult to get a good, constant supply of recycled plastic due to so much going to landfill or being incinerated. If everyone was to make sure that they put their plastic items into a recycling bin rather than into their general waste, this should in turn make it more readily available. This will hopefully bring the cost of material down as there is a surplus of it, as well as meaning manufacturers of plastic packaging can get away from paying the tax at all. This will bring cost of packaging down, which means lower costs for the customer in the long run.