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Why Is Plastics Recycling Important For The Economy?

Recycling plastic bottles, when carried out using efficient technology results in direct and indirect economic benefits. Plastic bottle recycling can create economic development, generating new employment in more efficient, sustainable industries. Development of an effective, efficient plastics recycling industry within the UK will help to create a sustainable society and support the economy on a long-term basis.

Recycling can provide an efficient alternative to traditional disposal of materials to landfill. Collection and disposal of plastic bottles currently costs UK local councils £100 million every year. This cost will rise with the planned landfill tax price increase. The plastic bottles being landfilled are a valuable resource - if sold they would generate over £27 million in revenue. Landfill is the inefficient option - there is market capacity and demand for collected and sorted plastic bottles, together with proven collection and handling technology.

Collecting plastic bottles for recycling also increases overall material yields, satisfies public demand for comprehensive service provision and has the potential to maximise landfill diversion across UK local authorities.

By changing their approach to waste management, councils and businesses alike have the opportunity to maximise material recovery and reduce waste management costs.

There will be employment creation for the increased services for both collection and sorting facilities. It is estimated that there will be a net increase of some 11 new full time equivalent jobs for every 1000 additional tonnes of plastic bottles recycled as a result of growth in the sorting, reprocessing and manufacturing sectors. With over a 330kt of plastic bottles in the domestic wastestream, plastic bottle recycling can offer real economic benefits.

To stimulate an increase in recycling, Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced new public sector funding of over £100m per year for recycling-related programmes will be introduced, combined with an accelerated increase of landfill tax. This will signal a significant rise in public sector funding available for waste-related projects. It is expected that the new finance - £100m a year in 2003/4, £110m in 2004/5 and 2005/6 - will be delivered through a combination of funds for local government and specialist agencies, such as WRAP.

The proposed increase in landfill tax - of £3/tonne/year from 2005/6 - is part of a long-term aim of moving landfill tax to £35/tonne. The move, combined with new funds to develop recycling schemes, mean that integrated kerbside collections that include plastic bottles can be economically justified for many more councils.

Almost £100m of finance for recycling has also been announced for Wales and Scotland.

The Welsh Assembly has identified £93m of funding for local authorities over the next 3 years to develop local composting and recycling schemes. The Sustainable Waste Management Grant will provide councils with £26million in 2005-06, £32million in 2006-07, and £35million in 2007-08. Allocations are based on spending needs derived from the Standard Spending Assessment and are identified for each council in Wales.

Meanwhile, The Scottish Executive has announced a £5 million fund for community sector recycling groups. The INCREASE programme will run over 2 years for community sector waste initiatives.

Co Reg: 2435729 | VAT Reg No: 546 5837 10 | Reg Charity No: 1072029

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