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Polyethylene Terephthalate

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

9. What assessment he has made of the UK’s capacity to recycle polyethylene terephthalate; and if he will make a statement. (202796)

The demand for recycled plastic is strong, from UK manufactures and overseas markets. The Waste and Resources Action Programme—WRAP—is a delivery body funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that works across the whole of the resource efficiency loop, as I am sure my hon. Friend is aware. WRAP will be helping the Government to deliver several aspects of the waste strategy for England 2007, including a core remit to develop markets for recycled materials, including plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate.

I thank the Minister for her reply, but what would she say to businesses in my constituency such as Highland Spring that want to use recycled PET in the bottling process, but find themselves unable to secure a stable enough supply in the marketplace?

I am concerned to hear what my hon. Friend has to say, and we will look into the case of that company. I can tell him, however, that a year ago, local authorities were collecting 3 billion plastic bottles from households and WRAP is working towards increasing that collection level by 30 per cent. Landfill tax rises will encourage more recycling, and WRAP has grant-aided and supported a number of plastic bottle recycling plants, addressing one of our major problems. To give two examples, JFC Runcorn has a PET capacity of 10,000 tonnes per annum, and Closed Loop London has a food-grade PET capacity of 15,000 tonnes per annum. We recognise that there has been a problem; we are taking action to correct it, and WRAP is leading that process for the Government.