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Paper Packaging Flow Study Launched in U.K.

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A joint project to research how much paper and card packaging is placed on the U.K. market has been launched by Valpak, St. Petersburg, Fla., USA, and the Waste & Resources Action Program (Banbury, U.K.) this past week. The study into paper and card packaging flows follows similar collaborative projects on glass, metals and plastic packaging which have also been undertaken by WRAP and Valpak.

It aims to provide ‘robust and independent’ estimates of the amount of paper and card packaging placed on the market between 2014 and 2020. Estimates will also be produced for how much paper material will be recycled, recovered or sent to landfill over the same time frame.
The research will help shape policy development at the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), which uses the data to fulfill EU requirements for reporting recycling performance for the U.K. In order to complete the work, Valpak has assembled a steering group made up of members from the waste packaging sector, Defra and the Environment Agency to provide insights into the outputs. The group is due to report its findings in early 2016.

The research comes during a period of uncertainty for paper recyclers, following the closure of major paper mills UPM Shotton and Aylesford Newsprint in the past 12 months.
Commenting on the research, Simon Weston of the Confederation of Paper Industries said the work would help identify where improvements on paper packaging recycling were needed. "The paper industry has for a long time been a leading material in recycling and this work will provide valuable insight not only into the amount of material in the U.K. but also help identify where improvements can be made," Weston said.
In September 2014, the Waste & Resources Action Program and Valpak published the findings of their study into the flow of plastic packaging on the market, which documented a shortfall in the amount of material Defra estimated had been placed on the market.
The research found the flow of plastics in 2013 to be 2,260,000 metric tons – around 330,000 metric tons less than the Defra estimate. The plastics sector had previously argued that it would be difficult to hit targets based on the government’s calculation.

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