Sustainability in Licensing | “The UK and EU have the chance to be world leaders in plastic management”

The UK and the EU have the opportunity to be world leaders in plastic resource management, when legislative changes in packaging and plastics finally kick in, ‘but only if we get it right.’

This is the message being promoted by Stuart Foster, CEO at RECOUP and director of EPRO (the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations) as he prepares to join a panel of experts at this year’s Sustainability in Licensing Conference.

Foster has stated that the current set of policy and legislation proposals made by the government “represent a once in a generation opportunity to deliver change and accelerate the move towards plastic circularity”; with the first signs of the environmental benefits showing green shoots from as early as 2022.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management and MD of PPS Recovery Systems, Foster will be taking to the digital stage next week, to join the second SILC conference taking place online across Wednesday, June 24th and Thursday, June 25th. 

He will be joined by representatives from the likes of LEGO, ZURU, Asda, Tesco, The Eden Project, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Hannah Mills, and The Insights Family in sharing valuable insight on topics including sourcing, fabrics, technology, and the upcoming packaging rules and crucial regulatory changes.

“Plastic is a key material with many environmental benefits, which is why it is so widely used, but this will only remains the case if we can significantly improve current sustainability and recycling credentials and reduce the leakage into the environment,” Foster told

“The proposed UK government policies set out in recent consultations on waste prevention, extended producer responsibility, recycled content tax and single use plastics are robust and cover a wide range of areas. So, all efforts should be focused on refining and developing those proposals, understanding the best approaches and committing to the deadlines for delivery.

“If we get it right, the UK and EU has the opportunity to be world leaders in plastic resource management.”

In his SILC21 session, Foster will also underline the importance of acknowledging the environmental benefits of plastic use, remarking on the need for an “evidenced policy making process which takes all environmental and business factors into account and avoids anti-plastic sentiment.”

He said: “We have a responsibility to implement the right systems and drivers to achieve circularity in plastics (and all materials), and then also work internationally to share and support best practice to deliver global change.”

SILC21 will take place online next week (June 24th to 25th). Two-day virtual passes are priced at £100, with a 20 per cent discount for Products of Change members.