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Plastic packaging and textiles: £4.7 million fund opens to boost recycling

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A woman holding a bundle of brightly coloured clothes
Image courtesy of Ghetty

There is coverage including in LetsRecycle, EcoTextiles, British Plastics and Rubber, Fruitnet, and Packaging News of our £4.7 million grant launched today to help boost the recycling of plastic packaging and textiles.

We are inviting organisations in England to apply for government funding for innovative solutions to drive up the recycling of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging such as plastic trays, pots and tubs, plastic films and pouches, as well as funding for projects that boost the recycling of textiles when they have reached the end of their life.

For plastics this could include innovative sorting or segregation equipment, and smarter systems to enable sorting of different polymers. For textiles this could include machinery for recycling textiles, technology for disassembling or sorting textiles, automated processes for removing items from textiles such as zips, and technology to sort textiles by fibre type and colour.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

“We are committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse, recycle and cut waste. Valuable waste ending up in landfill makes no sense environmentally or economically.

“We are making progress but there is more to do, and I encourage organisations to apply for our multi-million pound grant to drive-up the recycling of these valuable materials.”

The UK generates around 2.4 million tonnes of packaging waste per year. Around 40% of all plastic produced in the UK is used in the packaging of goods.

There has been a 14% drop in clothing thrown away in the UK since 2012, as well as a more than 11% drop in carbon footprint per tonne of clothing, and a more than 17% drop in water usage achieved by the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) signatories between 2012 and 2017.

However, in 2015 there were 300,000 tonnes of clothing in the UK going to landfill or incineration. The European Clothing Action Plan, led by WRAP, aims to divert over 90,000 tonnes of clothing waste from landfill and incineration across Europe by December 2019.

We are also supporting the ‘Love Your Clothes’ campaign which aims to raise awareness of the value of clothes and encourage people to make the most of the clothes they already have.

Today’s announcement builds on the government’s landmark Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how following the overhaul of the packaging regulations - which will see producers pay the full cost of managing their waste, the government will place greater responsibility on producers to make their items easier to reuse and recycle. Textiles is a key priority area for action.

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  1. Comment by Jacqueline Wall posted on

    I think fashion and anti-hoarding TV programmes which say "if you haven't worn something for a year, then throw it.... have been encouraging the terrible wasteful habit of fast and cheap fashion. it's a 'keep up with the Jones's' era well and truly isn't it!!! If you dare to wear the same collection of clothes for months on end you are deemed to be poor and there's a stigma attached to that. Same with cars, white goods, telly's, you name it.

  2. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on

    Here in Canterbury, New Zealand we have started to incorporate plastic waste in ashphalt. It apparently improves it and gets rid of a whole heap of plastic waste.