Visitors to RWM 2017 next week can gain an in-depth understanding of the UK’s recycling, secondary materials and reprocessing capabilities at a specialised Recycling & Reprocessing Associations’ stand.

The WRA will be joining seven other influential recycling trade organisations, including Alupro, The British Plastics Federation, The Confederation of Paper Industries, RECOUP, The Resource Association, The Alliance of Beverage Cartons and the Environment UK (ACE) and The Recycling Association.

Together, the eight organisations represent many of the UK’s top recycling and reprocessing organisations as well as a vast number of SMEs that operate within this diverse landscape. While each organisation has a unique membership and mission, all are recognised for their unparalleled understanding of and influence within their individual operational areas.

The organisations represent an industry which has an annual turnover of £11 billion, directly employs 106,000 people, and has helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent since 1990.*

In real terms, they have helped, and continue to help, the UK to collect, recycle and reprocess significant material quantities, examples of which are given below.

Waste Wood

In 2017, almost 1.5 million tonnes of waste wood will be recycled and used by the panel board sector and other key markets such as animal bedding. Wood recyclers also supplied around 1.5m tonnes of processed post-consumer waste wood to biomass facilities last year, a figure which is set to double by next year.

Paper and board

UK collections of recovered paper and board totalled almost 8 million tonnes in 2016. Furthermore, 70 per cent of all fibres used to make paper in the UK came from paper collected for recycling from households and businesses


UK collections of recovered plastic totalled 1.8 million tonnes in 2016. Plastic packaging recycling increased by 15 per cent between 2015 and 2016 to reach 45 per cent.


UK collections of recovered aluminium totalled 90,000 tonnes in 2016 with the aluminium recycling rate now standing at 50%. Jointly-funded communications programmes developed and run by the metal packaging sector have directly targeted over 5.5 million households across 81 local authorities, and consistently achieved increases in metal capture rates and contributed to positive behaviour change.

Secondary is the new primary

When it comes to materials, the organisations have not only helped to increase the quantity diverted from landfill but have also sought to raise quality throughout the supply chain. The aim has been to ensure that materials are considered as a preferred manufacturing feedstock over virgin materials.

“We might be separate organisations, but when it comes to raising standards and quality we are unanimous,” said Simon Weston of CPI. “Our aim is to make secondary materials the first choice for manufacturing and we will work tirelessly to help our members make this a new reality.”

The sentiment is echoed by Simon Ellin of The Recycling Association.

“We’re getting closer to a point where secondary is the new primary. By working collaboratively across the supply chain, with government, and by focusing on quality, secondary commodities are increasingly being selected over virgin alternatives.”

Andy Hill from the Wood Recyclers’ Association added:The value our recycling trade associations add to the UK’s economy is second to none and it will be great to see them all gathered together at RWM highlighting the work we all do and the future of recycling in Britain.”

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