The British Plastics Federation Recycling Group (BPFRG) has expressed concern over the growing shortage of usable plastics waste in the UK and has questioned the wisdom of exporting used plastics materials at a time when demand for plastics recyclate is increasing.
The Recycling Group is calling on local authorities to establish where their waste is actually going and is urging that it should be a condition of any Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF) contract for the collector to collate information on end markets.
It is also calling for tighter controls on the Trans Frontier Shipment of Waste with tougher action from DEFRA and the Environment Agency on shipments intended for disposal.
’The plastic recycling industry must have access to more waste, otherwise as a sector we risk losing credibility with our customers. In effect they will say to us that for years you have been wanting us to use more recyclate, and now that we’ve geared up to use it, you can’t deliver. The tragedy is that this threatens to stall growth in recycling and so we call on government to take a lead by tightening up on exports to help create a truly sustainable domestic supply chain for plastics recycling,’ said Recycling Group chairman, Roger Baynham of Philip Tyler Polymers.
’Many of our members have had a longstanding issue over the quality of the output materials from Materials Reclamation Facilities, which they believe are processing waste more with an eye to volume for the global market than for quality. Hence the question of exports is now more acute,’ he added.
Baynham also said that while there was a role for export markets, the fact that Chinese landfill is estimated to cost only five per cent creates too much temptation for MRF operators to send low-quality used plastics overseas.