The resource and recycling charity supported by government, WRAP, has called for a “collaborative” approach in response to concerns over tighter import controls on waste materials to China.
The call came in a letter responding to a demand for WRAP to take action. This was sent by the Confederation of Paper Industries, Resource Association, the Recycling Association and Environmental Services Association last month in September.
Concerns were raised by the groups as the Chinese Government has sought to tighten import controls for materials such as waste paper, plastics and scrap metal as part of its work to improve the environment.
The trade bodies called for urgent action from the UK government, as well as work by WRAP on “recycling market development” to ease concerns among recycling businesses.
Responding to the comments, Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP, said that recycling and waste firms should focus on producing quality material as well as suggesting phasing out mixed paper grades.
Mr Gover’s letter said that WRAP would be “delighted” to convene a round table to bring together key players to “identify common solutions” and develop a shared action plan.
The chief executive stressed that “the waste sector needs to recognise that improving the quality of recycled materials is “critical to continued growth” and “success” of the recycling supply chain. And, he said that quality recovered materials will continue to find markets.
But Mr Gover emphasised that other countries will compete with the UK for supply of quality secondary commodities and that the UK will need to produce high quality materials to “compete effectively in the future”.
In response to the proposed contamination levels for paper exports to China, Mr Gover said that the UK is “currently nowhere near meeting this stringent standard, and it may only be possible to do so with paper that is collected separately”.
“With China taking 75% of our total recovered paper exports we have to question whether single stream commingled collections are fit for the future,” he wrote.