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Archive for July, 2010

Loan fund set to boost plastics recycling

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

On Tuesday of this week, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) launched a mixed plastics loan fund worth £2 million to boost reprocessing of plastics waste in the UK. The measure is aimed at increasing the recycling of everyday items such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and food trays. This move could help to raise the profile of non-woven carrier bags, which are manufactured from recovered PET (polyethylene terephthalate) – typically, plastic bottles.

Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its loan fund will provide valuable capital support to investors in mixed plastics reprocessing plants across the country. This comes at a time when the market price for recovered PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is at a record high. Despite this, 90% of mixed plastics in our UK waste are still going to landfill.

Marcus Gover, Director of Market Development for WRAP, commented, “A reduction in available capital brought on by the current economic climate, together with recent market price volatility in recovered materials has meant that the risk-reward balance is still a barrier to private sector investment in mixed plastics recycling in the UK. By establishing a loan fund, as opposed to offering a capital grant, investors can pay back the money after they start making a profit and WRAP can re-invest those funds into more support for the mixed plastics market.”

UK householders dispose of 1.7 million tonnes of mixed plastics every year and it is estimated that only 20,000 tonnes of this is diverted from landfill. Paul Davidson, Plastics Sector Specialist for WRAP, believes that PET recycling could be worth up to £500 million a year to the UK economy. “At the moment the UK exports all of its recovered non-bottle plastics, mostly to China,” he said. “If we closed the loop through increased collections and reprocessing of mixed plastics, the economic benefits could be startling.”

Figures just released by Petcore (PET containers recycling Europe, a non-profit trade association based in Brussels) show that European post-sorting PET collection reached 1.4 million tonnes in 2009, an increase of more than 8% on 2008. The overall collection rate in 2009 rose by almost 2.5% – from 46% to 48.4% – of all PET bottles on the market.

It is estimated that there is a total mechanical reclamation capacity in Europe of 1.6 million tonnes. This provides the impetus for the industry to increase the current collection rate beyond 50%. Exports to the Far East fell slightly to 16% of collected PET and 67,000 tonnes of baled PET bottles were imported from outside the area. Of the collected bales that are reprocessed in Europe, only 75% is usable PET – the remainder consists of caps, labels, residues, foreign materials and other polymers. Interestingly, the continuing programme of bottle weight reduction results in caps and labels forming a greater proportion by weight of the collected PET.

Commented Roberto Bertaggia, Chairman of the Petcore Board, “I should like to congratulate members of the PET industry chain who have worked with Collection Agencies, National Bodies and European Recyclers to increase the collection rate to nearly 50% of all PET bottles placed on the market. For the collection of PET bottles in Europe to increase by more than 8% in such difficult economic circumstances is a real achievement.”

UK conference and business events worth £18.8 billion

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

In a recent report from Eventia, the voice of the UK events industry, the value of business events and conferences to the UK economy has been estimated at a massive £18.8 billion.

Eventia – which was created in 2006 through the merger of the Corporate Events Association (CEA) and the Incentive Travel & Meetings Association (ITMA) and strengthened by the inclusion of the British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD) in 2009 – published the findings in its recent UK Events Market Trends Survey (UKEMTS). The annual UKEMTS survey is supported by major events industry organisations including Confex Group, CAT Publications, VisitBritain, Conference Centres of Excellence and MeetEngland.

This is the first time ever that UKEMTS has estimated the overall value of the conference and business events market – including spend at venues and in the wider destination by delegates and organisers – rather than simply the revenue to event venues. The report, which is based on data supplied by a representative sample of 403 venues from across the country, confirms the importance and scope of the events sector to the UK economy.

Other key estimates in the report include:

  • There were 94 million attendances at events in 2009
  • 1.32 million events took place, with an average attendance of 71 people
  • The average number events per venue was 379 in 2009, down slightly on 2008’s figure of 391
  • Hotels hosted 61% of all business events
  • 36% of events are booked only two to eight weeks in advance
  • The average duration of events in 2009 was 1.6 days, which is similar to previous years

Venues were reported to be more optimistic about business prospects than a year ago, with 65% of respondents planning to invest in their property this year and 9% spending in excess of £1 million.

Commented Izania Downie, Eventia CEO, “UKEMTS is a crucial barometer of what’s happening in the events sector and should be required reading for anyone who needs an informed view of the trends and changes in our sector. Eventia has now been able to provide a robust estimate for the value of our sector, something the industry has long needed. We shall be using this figure and the other market intelligence revealed in this survey for education, marketing and advocacy purposes.”