According to PAFA, the variable quality of recyclate has long acted as “a damper on the recycling sector in the UK”. The association added that it will be working with other members of the recycling supply chain to ensure that action is “both effective and proportionate”.
PAFA chief executive, Barry Turner, who attended the launch of a new materials recovery facility (MRF) code of practice and quality action plan, said: “The minister and his team are to be congratulated on recognising that it is not just the quantity of materials in the recycling stream that is important but equally critical is the quality of material which, at best, has so far been variable. At present, plastics convertors are all too often faced with difficulties in sourcing quality recyclate that could be used without further screening. If this issue can finally be addressed by these moves, it will only be positive for our industry.”
He also welcomed what he described as “the openness shown by Defra in highlighting the very real obstacles which will have to be overcome”.
The Government proposals will require all MRFs over a certain size to measure the quality of the input and outputs of paper, card, metals, plastic and glass. The results from these tests would then be made available, for example to those businesses buying the recycling material as well as to local councils and others who supply the material to the MRFs.
Lord de Mauley previously said: “The recycling industry contributes around £3bn to our economy. Having sufficient quantity of recyclable material is of course important for the markets. The quality of that material is equally important but often overlooked. I want that to change. While some MRFs already provide quality material I want to see this happening more consistently across the industry.”
“At present, plastics convertors are all too often faced with difficulties in sourcing quality recyclate that could be used without further screening,” Mr Turner said, adding, “If this issue can finally be addressed by these moves, it will only be positive for our industry.”