There needs to be a “relentless focus” on improving the quality of recycled materials or risk losing markets, as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Poland all plan to further inspect the quality of materials sent to them, according to The Recycling Association.
In April this year China added 32 materials, including specific ferrous and non-ferrous metals, to its prohibited waste list, which already prohibited 24 categories of recyclable materials from the beginning of 2018.
Poland has recently linked a string of recent waste fires, which it says were started deliberately, with China’s decision to ban imports of certain waste products.
The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “News over the last two weeks has shown the need for putting quality first as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Poland have all announced increased import restrictions and potential new regulations.
Simon Ellin – “Once the Chinese ban came in, some people thought it wouldn’t be a problem as other destinations were taking this material. But as we warned at the time, it wouldn’t be long before other countries started to respond with tougher regulations. We are now seeing this happening.”
“In the case of Vietnam, Indonesia and Poland, this is a direct response to the Chinese ban on plastics and mixed paper, plus detailed inspections of other materials, leading to these countries being flooded with material.
“Once the Chinese ban came in, some people thought it wouldn’t be a problem as other destinations were taking this material. But as we warned at the time, it wouldn’t be long before other countries started to respond with tougher regulations. We are now seeing this happening.
“In the UK, we have responded really well to the Chinese ban, and The Recycling Association’s Quality First campaign helped to ensure that we were ready by improving quality while other countries have struggled.
“But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels as the latest news shows, but be relentless in our focus on improving the quality of UK material. This will ensure we will continue to have domestic, European and international destinations for our paper, plastics and metals.”