Simon Buswell (1)

Boris is both right and wrong on plastics and recycling, says Eco Flexibles

UK headquartered sustainable flexible packaging business, Eco Flexibles®, has commented on the recent news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated “Recycling plastics does not work, and that it is not the answer to climate change issues. … You can only recycle plastic a couple of times, really. What you’ve got to do is stop the production of plastic.” 

Simon BuswellSimon Buswell, Director of Eco Flexibles, says: “Fundamentally, plastics play a tremendous role in society. At Eco Flexibles, we produce extremely light weight, low carbon, flexible packaging solutions that deliver a robust protection system for sensitive goods, and extended shelf life to minimise supply chain waste and damage. Indeed, food waste in this country has a far bigger climate impact than plastic packaging, so the argument he has put forward is distorted.

“This type of rhetoric causes needless switching of pack formats and substrates, as we saw in response to the BBC’s Blue Planet II series’ marine pollution outcry. In reality, many of the new materials brought into play have a far larger carbon impact, in terms of water and energy use, than the highly engineered plastics they are replacing.

“Where he is also incorrect is in his assumption that plastics can only be recycled one or two times. If we take the UK’s PET and PE recycling infrastructure today, that’s simply untrue. Many studies indicate both these polymers can be recycled multiple times, so again a distortion of the facts.”

Eco Flexibles Logo copy“However, all that being said, where he is correct in his argument is that we must follow as an industry, and as a country, the UK waste hierarchy. We must all be reducing resource use wherever possible, and this is why light weight flexible packaging that saves on transport, storage and shipping energy and carbon is so important.

“As a country, it’s clear we have a significant shortage of recycling capacity today, especially in view of the accelerating demand we are likely to see in response to the incoming Plastics Tax slated for implementation in April 2022. I can therefore understand why Mr Johnson is concerned that it’s not the answer to the country’s Net Zero targets. However, simply suggesting that we can switch off the use of plastic, when it is such a positive material in terms of its overall performance in packaging is simply fantasy.”

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