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Green Liberal Democrats

UK Recycling Companies must Improve Quality - The Chinese think UK Waste is Rubbish!

The Paper RecyclingUK must do better in separating paper grades and types of plastic. For many years now the Chinese government has been increasing quality standards for the recyclates it imports from the UK.

Starting with their national quality campaign Green Fence, aimed at raising the quality of imported recyclates the Chinese government has now moved on to a tough industrial inpection regime called National Sword. Any paper mill or plastics recycler found with sub-standard recyclate on the premises is simply shut down - on the spot.

Simon Ellin of the Recycling Association, the UK trade association for independent waste paper processors and their equipment suppliers, said after a recent visit to China,

"In order for the UK to remain part of the global market for materials such as paper and cardboard, plastics and metals, it is absolutely vital that we improve the quality of material we send to China. It still remains the key market for UK recyclate by far and it is the responsibility of the entire supply chain that we meet the standards set by China."

Material failing to pass the new custom checks in China, which require 100% of the containers from UK to be inspected, has to be removed to markets in other Asian countries with lower standards. However, these lack the capacity to take up the slack if UK recyclate exports can no longer go to China.

This means that UK waste collection authorities - the districts and boroughs - will need to ensure cleaner waste, better separation of materials and types of materials.

You can help by making sure that you minimise food waste by sensible eating, wise buying, good storage - and not throwing out food just because it's past, or even past, its "Best before Date"! Most important of all, always put waste food or food material - like peelings - in the kitchen caddy and recycle it separately.

Your local council doesn't provide a separate food waste collection? Then get onto them and complain - and get on to your local district or borough councillors and pester them to provide one!