The UK Government has agreed to the Wood Recyclers’ Association’s (WRA) request for expanding the wood packaging recycling targets.

In a media release on 19 June, the WRA said that the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Minister Rebecca Pow responded to their letter, stating that she is “open to increasing packaging recycling targets for waste wood”.

This letter to Defra was sent by the WRA last month and was co-signed by the Wood Panel Industries Federation and Confor.

The co-signatories and the WRA urged Defra to increase the packaging recycling targets from next year to help them drive investment in terms of recycling.

The WRA said that this would also ensure that the associated industry can recycle more wood packaging waste.

Responding to the WRA’s letter, Pow said: “As part of finalising our plans for extended producer responsibility, we will be confirming future recycling targets for all packaging materials.

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“I am open to increasing targets for wood packaging and I have asked Defra officials to update you on current thinking.”

The packaging recycling targets help in determining the amount of support wood re-processors receive via the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system.

For 2023, this target is set at 35%, which WRA said is the lowest for any material.

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 hope that any replacement to the PRN system also continues to support the recycling of suitable waste wood packaging.”

Pow also mentioned that Defra was planning to “resume work on reusable packaging, including specific measures to increase reuse of wooden pallets to deliver intended environmental benefits associated with increased reuse whilst still providing incentives to recycle waste wood packaging where appropriate at the end of life”.