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Packaging giant DS Smith warns of a recycling crisis in the UK

Packaging giant DS Smith warns of a recycling crisis in the UK as country shifts to online shopping

The UK is heading towards a full-blown recycling crisis which could cost the economy billions, a FTSE 100 boss has warned.

Miles Roberts, chief executive of packaging giant DS Smith, said Britain’s ‘creaking infrastructure’ is no longer fit to cope with the huge shift in shopping habits. 

A standardised system should be introduced that separates household waste collections rather than the hundreds of separate council schemes, Roberts said.

Packing problem: Recycling levels dropped from a peak of nearly 80 per cent in 2017 to 65 per cent last year 

And paper and cardboard recycling should be put ‘at the very heart’ of this drive.

Founded in 1940, DS Smith makes 20bn parcels a year for customers all over the world including Amazon. 

Being able to turn used parcel paper and cardboard into new packaging last year would have saved the UK £1billion.

Recycling levels dropped from a peak of nearly 80 per cent in 2017 to 65 per cent last year.

Roberts warned that the recycling crisis was costing the country green jobs at a time when the Government is doggedly pursuing a strategy to get the UK to net zero carbon by 2050.

Bruce Batley, chief executive of recycling business First Mile, said improving the UK’s recycling infrastructure had been neglected because of the reliance on sending waste overseas.

This will add to the problems in the coming years as countries such as China are turning away rubbish and recycling exports. 

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