BBC’s Tom Heap, returns to Peterborough to discuss climate change and plastics

Date Published: Wednesday 6th October 2021

Peterborough based charity, RECOUP, bring brands, retailers, recyclers, Local Authorities, and Waste Management companies together for the first time in 2 years to discuss climate change and net zero aspirations in relation to plastics recycling.  This unique event at KingsGate Conference Centre, brought together 400 delegates with some delegates attending in person others were able to tune in online.

Tom Heap, TV Presenter and host of  Radio 4 ‘Costing the Earth’, was delighted to return once again to moderate the morning discussions and commented “the virtues and values of plastics have really come to the fore over the last 18 months, in helping protect us from the spread of the virus.”

Heap added that the day’s discussions seemed to “incorporate the science of plastics materials, facts and fiction, good and bad and what’s changing in the chemical and design of plastics production and the impact on the wider environment.”

Paula Chinn, WWF UK, threw down the gauntlet to the industry, with a reminder of the quote from Tanya Steele, CEO WWF-UK: “We’re the first generation to know we’re destroying the planet and could be the last to do anything about it”.  Chinn called on the industry to” Face the fact that 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress, and half of all carbon emissions come from resource extraction and processing (UNEP) … Plastic packaging contributes 4% to this total but is the frontline, a visible touchpoint for many consumers”.

Chinn continued that “Capital investments constrain us, but we have to make changes to systems to think of elimination, consumption reduction and reuse.  Collaboration is critical to support citizens to consume less.”

Collaboration continued to be a strong theme throughout the day with Mike Baxter, Corporate Affairs Director, Berry BPI, lead the charge calling for the industry to recognise that only by working together can change happen at the pace required.   Baxter called on Local Authorities to “be positive and say we don’t want to push back the collection of films and flexibles; we want to start working on it now! Retailers and Brands are showing it can be collected, and it can be recycled.”

Collaboration and exploring new ways of working are proof that changes can be made. Exeter Council received praise for their commitment to helping collect plastic films and created a closed loop collection scheme collaboration with JayPlas International. Sainsburys have also rolled out collection of films to over 600 stores. It is clear organisations are working together innovative recycling solutions can be found.

RECOUP is proud to be playing a part in facilitating discussions to drive change forward.   RECOUP, not only bring together sectors of the industry, but work closely with Local Authorities on citizen engagement and education programmes using the Pledge2Recycle Plastics brand. For more information about RECOUP, the work they do including how to join as a member please contact www.recoup.org.

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