UK Defra responds to WRA's appeal for enhanced wood packaging targets

UK Defra responds to WRA's appeal for enhanced wood packaging targets

Sustainability

The Wood Recyclers' Association (WRA) has received a positive response from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) regarding their request to expand wood packaging recycling targets. In a media release issued on 19 June, the WRA announced that Defra Minister Rebecca Pow expressed openness to increasing the packaging recycling targets for waste wood.

Last month, the WRA, along with the Wood Panel Industries Federation and Confor, sent a letter to Defra urging them to raise the packaging recycling targets starting from next year. The purpose of this initiative is to stimulate investment in recycling and enable the industry to recycle a greater amount of wood packaging waste.

The WRA emphasises that increasing the targets will not only contribute to enhanced recycling efforts but also ensure that wood re-processors receive adequate support through the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system. Currently, the target for 2023 stands at 35%, which the WRA highlights as the lowest target for any material.

By collaborating with the UK Government, the WRA aims to drive sustainable practices and promote the circular economy within the wood packaging industry. The expansion of recycling targets will foster a more environmentally friendly approach, addressing the challenges of waste wood while encouraging investment and innovation in the sector.

Recycled wood credit Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden CCBY20
Recycled wood © Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden (CC BY 2.0)

The WRA expresses its gratitude to Minister Rebecca Pow and Defra for their openness to considering this request. They remain committed to working closely with the government to further develop and enhance the wood packaging recycling sector in the UK.

Alastair Kerr, Director General of the Wood Panel Industries Federation, said: We welcome the statement by the Minister that Defra are open to the idea of increasing wood packaging recycling targets. Over the past decade we have seen the volumes of wood packaging come through for recycling reduce significantly. The capacity to recycle this material remains, all that is needed is the driver to push the material from recovery into recycling.
Commenting on the response, WRA Chair Richard Coulson said: We are very pleased to hear that Defra are open to increasing the packaging recycling targets for waste wood, which have been set too low for too long. Setting higher targets under EPR will ensure that as much waste wood as possible is recycled in accordance with the waste hierarchy and will help to protect the many benefits the waste wood reprocessing sector brings. We look forward to engaging with officials at Defra to ensure any future targets create the best environmental outcome for both wood which is reusable and that which is not. We hope that any replacement to the PRN system also continues to support the recycling of suitable waste wood packaging.

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