A new report from Ricardo Energy & Environment looks at the state of the market for plastics in the UK bioeconomy and opportunities for growth in compostables.
Awareness of the environmental harm of plastic waste is now prominent in the public consciousness, and both government and business are taking steps to mitigate its negative consequences. The UK Government is currently in the process of reforming the UK plastic packaging producer responsibility regime as part of its Resources and Waste Strategy, while UK businesses have signed up to the Plastics Pact, which targets 100 per cent of packaging being recyclable, reusable or compostable and 70 per cent of packaging being recycled or composted by 2025.
Ricardo’s report, prepared for the Biomass Biorefinery Network and called ‘Plastics in the Bioeconomy’, summarises the current scale and types of compostables on the UK market, how the market for compostable plastics could grow in the medium term, identification of suitable biomass resources that could be used as feedstocks and the potential contribution of compostable plastics to the UK Plastics Pact.
The report’s market analysis estimates that the uptake of compostable packaging could increase to between 90,000 and 138,000 tonnes by 2025, providing an annual economic benefit to the UK of £267 million through the sale of biopolymers, while additional economic benefits can be achieved through cost reductions in collections and reprocessing costs associated with hard-to-recycle plastics.
In terms of bioresources available for use as feedstocks in creating biopolymers, around eight million tonnes are available from key agricultural residues alone, with a further five million available from other, non-target bioresources.
You can find the ‘Plastics in the Bioeconomy’ report in full on the BBIA reports page.