PackFlow COVID-19 Report

The impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown measures (in isolation) on the compliance landscape for UK packaging recycling have been subject to much conjecture. This project isolates the changes in consumption and recycling in 2020 and project forward to 2022 in order to assess the potential compliance position.

This has been achieved by working with 55 industry stakeholders to:

  • Phase 1: Calculate UK packaging placed on the market and recycling by material and by industry sector in 2019 to provide a baseline for compliance projections 2020-2022
  • Phase 2: Use relevant data sources and industry insight to estimate and provide a narrative, by packaging material type, regarding the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has in 2020-2022 on:
    • The total amount of material that is likely to be placed on the market (POM) by sector
    • The impact of the change in POM on the UK recycling rate by sector
    • The changes to the level of obligated tonnage

Key points are:

  • Overall the compliance picture against the targets proposed in the 2019 consultation appears challenging but, on the whole, achievable
  • The biggest impact of Covid-19 lockdown is within plastics and glass, where a decrease in POM in 2020 makes for a potential shortfall in PRN evidence
  • In the case of plastics, this is compounded by a higher proportion going into households during and after lockdown than has historically been the case, from which a lower capture and recycling rate is typically achieved
  • The impact of businesses de-registering from the regulations as a result of the recession is identified as a having a potentially big impact on meeting the targets

The findings are delivered across six reports. For benchmarking (phase 1), each packaging type is considered in isolation.

For compliance projections, a single report is available that details the findings across all packaging types. Download your copy here:

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