International legal practice Osborne Clarke in association with British Plastics Federation (BPF) and WRAP recently held a joint investors summit exploring opportunities within the UK’s plastics recycling and reprocessing infrastructure.
The event was chaired the Rt Hon. Lord Deben, John Gummer, who is the Chair of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change and led by WRAP and the British Plastics Federation (BPF).
The key focus was understanding investment opportunities and challenges in this fast moving area and how a circular model for waste plastic packaging is fast emerging as global producers like Unilver and Coca-Cola have committed to reduce the use of virgin plastics in their packaging and increase the use of recycled content.
An expert panel of speakers from WRAP, the BPF, Plastics Europe, Berry Global, Circularity Capital and Innovate UK set out the current position on UK waste plastics and how recycling and reprocessing infrastructure can provide closed-loop solutions. The summit also heard about the UK Government's strong support for the plastics circular economy with increased grant opportunities for businesses in this space.
Design Manager for Berry Global, Brian Lodge, discussed the demand for various recycled polymers within the UK packaging sector. He was followed by Plastics Europe Regional Director Kim Christiansen, who explained ongoing developments at a global level as well as insights into the EU's Plastics Strategy.
Lord Deben introduced the event by explaining the environmental impact of poorly managed plastic waste and the extent to which the UK needs investment in order to develop an infrastructure capable of sorting and reprocessing its plastic waste.
Innovate UK Interim Deputy Director for Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Nick Cliffe described how there is strategic funding available to eligible businesses with innovative ideas about improving how plastic waste in managed within the UK. The former CEO of the Ellen McArthur Foundation and a partner at Circularity Capital, Jamie Butterworth, then spoke about the importance of the role of finance and investors as the UK develops its domestic recycling infrastructure.
Matt Germain, a Partner in Osborne Clarke's Environment Group, commented: "We were delighted to host this thought-provoking and topical event. We hope that those who attended were provided with further knowledge about the current market situation of recycled plastic in the UK and where the investment opportunities lie within the plastics circular economy."