The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) has welcomed Defra’s interim packaging recycling targets for the UK business sector, which have been released for 2021 and 2022. The figures are based on responses received from the 2019 consultation on packaging reform and with consideration of the current market and have been reduced from 48 percent to 35 percent.
“We are pleased to see this reduction on packaging waste targets for wood, as the high PRN prices experienced previously added a significant cost burden to the manufacturers of wooden pallets and packaging,” said Stuart Hex, TIMCON secretary general.
TIMCON is the acknowledged representative body of the UK and Republic of Ireland wooden pallet and packaging industry, encompassing manufacturers, the four major pallet pooling companies, and the majority of sawmills who supply the industry from the UK and Ireland as well as suppliers to the industry such as kiln and composite block manufacturers. TIMCON members manufacture 70 percent of the UK’s 43 million new pallets every year; they use around one million cubic metres of wood, representing between 25 and 30% of the UK’s sawmilling production.
“Every other packaging material, including plastics, glass, and metal will see an increase in targets from next year, which is a positive sign that government now recognizes the clear difference between these and the unique environmental credentials of wooden materials, which are one of the key components of a truly circular, sustainable economy and the need to encourage more reuse before recycling,” Hex continued.
“The release of these revised figures is an encouraging step, but the UK industry is still operating at a marked disadvantage to its counterparts in Europe, for whom targets are 15 percent, rising to a maximum of 30 percent by 2030. The disparity between these and our artificially inflated targets continues to make our businesses comparatively less competitive.
“It is vitally important that TIMCON works closely with the Wood Recyclers Association and the Wood Panel Industries Federation to ensure that their concerns that the drop in target will mean that valuable wood material does not get lost to Chapter IV biomass.
“TIMCON continues to advocate reuse and repair of our products as the preferred option, moving to the recycling stage only when they have reached the end of their useful life. Wood pallets and packaging are widely recovered, repaired, reused, and then recycled for panel manufacture, animal bedding, or as energy. They remain the most cost-effective, sustainable option for packaging materials – and this needs to be reflected in future packaging waste regulations.”