UK and Ireland pallet and packaging manufacturers call for reuse focus
The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) has called for government to channel more resources into promoting the reuse of packaging materials before recycling.
“TIMCON believes that reuse should be encouraged over and above recycling – this is of central importance to move the UK towards a truly circular economy,” stated Sturat Hex, TIMCON general secretary. “If reuse is possible, recycling merely to meet targets is irrational. Keeping a product working and in circulation should be our priority, with recycling taking place only when a product has reached the end of its useful life.”
TIMCON is continuing to lobby the government and devolved governments to consider this when it reviews future packaging waste targets. “We believe current UK recycling targets, that rise from 43% to 48% this year, are far too high, particularly when compared to the current EU target of 15%,” said Hex.
“Our industry has a fantastic track record in repairing and reusing its products. Only once they have been reused – often many times – do we recycle them into wood chips, animal bedding and other products, or used as biomass fuel.”
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TIMCON is encouraging businesses to make reuse a key part of their sustainability strategies. TIMCON’s latest UK Wood Pallet & Packaging Market report (2018) shows that pallet inspection and repair has increased by more than 20 per cent since 2015. It is now 46 million units for the year. Manufacture of new pallets increased for the fourth successive year – rising by
4.7 per cent on the previous year to 44.9 million units.
“Pallets and other wooden packaging materials absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as trees grow. Using them for as long as possible and continuing to store that carbon makes perfect sense to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint further,” said Hex.
“We no longer believe that there is such thing as a ‘single-trip’ pallet.”
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 UK and Ireland and suppliers to the industry such as kiln and composite block manufacturers. TIMCON members manufacture 70 per cent 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.