A new campaign has been launched that aims to raise the quality of material produced by the UK recycling industry.
The Recycling Association has developed the Quality First campaign to raise awareness of the need for the UK to improve the quality of its recyclate or face the possibility of declining markets for its materials.
Quality First is backed by the board of The Recycling Association, a number of major exporters of recyclable material including ACN Europe, Cyclelink and Mark Lyndon Paper Enterprises, as well as Chinese inspection agency CCIC London.
Under the Quality First Campaign, The Recycling Association will:
1. Campaign to eliminate the deliberate trade of sub-standard and illegal-quality materials for reprocessing
2. Highlight the positive work of members to improve quality
3. Raise awareness of the importance of material quality
4. Educate the supply chain on its part in improving material quality
5. Act as a hub and facilitator, working with regulators worldwide to improve quality
6. Promote understanding of and lobby for acceptance of 1.5% maximum out throw for paper (as detailed in EN643 and accepted in China and throughout Europe) across the UK (with other material standards to follow).
The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “There is a risk to the UK recycling industry if the quality of materials collected for recycling does not improve, or gets worse.
“We are increasingly seeing that Chinese buyers, other export destinations and even UK mills are choosy about where they buy material. They have choices that they did not have before and for the Chinese this includes their increasingly developing domestic market.
“In the UK, it is essential that we improve the quality of materials we collect for recycling and everyone in the supply chain must take responsibility for that. This includes local authorities, retailers, recycling companies, waste management companies, exporters and even shipping lines as all of these have a legal responsibility to ensure material sent for export meets quality criteria.
“If we don’t improve quality, then there is a risk that we will start to see the UK at the bottom of the queue when it comes to purchasing decisions both in the export market and from UK buyers too.”
The Recycling Association president Adrian Jackson added: “Quality First has been developed by The Recycling Association board and one of our tasks will be to act as a hub and facilitator to work with regulators and other stakeholders to ensure UK material is always regarded as the highest quality.
“From a paper recycling perspective, we want to promote understanding of and lobby for acceptance of a 1.5% maximum out throw for paper, and then seek to develop other material standards.
“We look forward to working with everyone in the supply chain to find the solutions to ensure we meet our goal of improving quality, and we would be happy to work with companies and organisations that share our ambitions to improve material quality.”
Over the coming weeks and months, The Recycling Association will be meeting with key stakeholders including regulators, communicating successful examples of companies that have raised material quality, and developing ways for people to discuss how material quality can be improved.