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TRA campaign targets ‘self-policing’ quality push

United Kingdom – The Recycling Association (TRA), which champions the interests of the UK recovered paper sector, has launched a new quality campaign designed to improve the industry’s competitive position in the domestic and export markets.

Unveiled by TRA chief executive Simon Ellin at the RWM trade show starting today in Birmingham, the Quality First campaign is targeting ‘blatantly illegal operators who bring in, process and sell substandard material’, he tells Recycling International. ‘We need to weed them out, perhaps by working with regulators to encourage a self-policing industry with a whistle-blowing culture.’

Through literature, press coverage and meetings, Quality First will focus on engagement and partnership throughout the supply chain – from the general public via local authorities to merchants, processors, waste management companies, brokers, exporters and key politicians. The campaign will lobby for acceptance of a 1.5% maximum outthrow for paper. ‘China, the USA and Europe through the EN 643 standard all call for a 1.5% maximum for non-target materials,’ Ellin points out. ‘So let’s all work to 1.5% – and perhaps ultimately less than 1.5% – as a sustainable maximum in order to safeguard the future of our industry.’

China, which buys more than 40% of the recovered fibre collected in the UK, is developing its own collection infrastructure ‘and so we in the UK need to position ourselves as a next-best option’, Ellin insists. ‘In terms of recovered paper quality, we should aim to be the Armani of the export market rather than Bargain Basement Ltd.’ If it fails to do so, the UK recovered paper industry faces the very real possibility of ‘declining markets for its materials’, TRA stresses.

*The full interview with Simon Ellin will appear in the October issue of Recycling International.

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