Encouraging plastic recycling

Materials World magazine
8 Jun 2018

Greater incentive is needed to realise the potential of plastics recycling, as Ellis Davies reports.

A new report from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claims that plastic recycling is failing to reach full potential because of low recovery rates, poor quality plastic, and a lack of price incentives. This is attributed to the fact that it is cheaper to make new plastic than to recycle.

Primary plastic can be priced higher than the recycled alternative because of the quality. This leads to eight times more new plastic being produced worldwide than recycled.

The OECD calls for better incentives in the sector, to lead to better design of plastic goods for easy recycling, as well as further investment in waste collection infrastructure to increase the likelihood of proper separation. Product labels should show recycled content, the report states, to help consumers drive demand for recycled plastics.

A greater tax on the manufacture of new plastics is also proposed, including a single-use charge for bags, cutlery, and drinking straws.

The report is available for download at bit.ly/2Lt6PXK