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Title: An assessment of the effectiveness and environmental impact of the UK approach to the legislative controls on packaging waste
Author: Okafor, Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 8808
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2012
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The UK has adopted a market based approach to the EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste in contrast to other Member States like Germany and the Nordic countries where direct levies on packaging are applied. This research thesis explores the effectiveness of the UK Packaging Regulations in reducing the production and use of packaging by obligated companies, encourages the recycling/recovery of packaging waste, and ensures the introduction of packaging waste management related practices. The environmental impact associated with the mandatory recovery and recycling targets were calculated. Yet the growth in packaging waste is a global phenomenon and in contrast, a review of packaging waste recovery systems in developing countries indicates that an informal sector has contributed immensely towards improving recovery of recyclable materials (including packaging materials) and provides recycling services at low cost to the local community. In contrast to the recovery of packaging waste in developing countries, the key stakeholders in the delivery of the UK Packaging Regulations - the reprocessors and obligated producers of packaging waste in UK were surveyed. Evidence indicates that • household packaging waste has become a vital source of supply to re processors and constitutes 31% of all packaging waste recovered for recycling in 2008. The Packaging Recovery Note income generated by the Regulations has facilitated investment in new recycling infrastructure. The domestic reprocessors in theory have the capacity across all material sectors to take an estimated 1,122ktonnes more packaging waste. The examination of the various material sectors indicates that glass and wood capacity would have sufficient capacity to meet the EU targets while paper, plastics and metals are deficient. This means that the export of packaging waste of paper, plastics and metals will be necessary for UK to meet its EU packaging waste recycling obligations. The cost of packaging waste compliance has raised environmental awareness within \, companies but have not stimulated major changes in business behaviour. There is evidence that the cost of compliance has encouraged some packagifJ,g design changes, improved production process to reduce packaging waste, substitution with other packaging materials and the incorporation of recycled content in packaging products. It has also encouraged discussions with suppliers on scope for reducing packaging, progress in take-back systems for recovery packaging and development of individual approaches by companies obligated under the regulations to develop their own approach to collecting evidence of packaging recovery. As part of the research a recycling and performance waste model, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Carbon Model (PPW-CM) was developed to evaluate the flow of C02eq I I which occur as a consequence of existing packaging recycling targets and possible higher targets which might be introduced through the regulations. The results from the model show that keeping the 2010 baseline recycling targets of 60.7% until 2024 will achieve a net C02eq savings of 8.4 million t C02eq while linearly raising the recycling target to 84.7% (level already achieved across Europe in 2009) by 2024 from 2010 baseline will realise an additional 7.2million t C02eq savings - a significant reduction in global warming potential. The model has shown that recycling packaging waste through the infrastructure set up in the UK can deliver against recycling targets and also offers significant environmental benefits expressed in carbon terms. Developing countries also have the potential to deliver similar benefits, but without formal, organised collection systems, will rely on an informal sector to deliver the necessary recycling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available