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ECO Plastics calls for minimum MRF output standards

UK – Following completion of the UK government’s consultation process on a Code of Practice for Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs), leading recycler ECO Plastics has called for the urgent introduction of mandatory requirements.

Launched in February, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ consultation solicited views on whether a code specifying minimum output standards should be compulsory for all MRFs, coupled with transparent and auditable sampling regimes, or whether they should be able to comply on a voluntary basis.

In common with others in the industry, ECO Plastics is concerned that allowing MRFs to choose whether or not they meet agreed standards will negate the entire point of the exercise. ECO Plastics’ managing director Jonathan Short says: ‘We have submitted our response to the government’s consultation and in that we have made clear in no uncertain terms our view that the Code of Practice is doomed to failure if firms can simply opt out. The fact that some reprocessing markets can still accept a high degree of contamination means that those companies which choose to comply with voluntary standards will be undercut by their competitors.’

And Short adds: ‘If they are forced to decide between maintaining quality and going out of business, you can predict which option they will choose. The scheme will collapse unless all MRFs have to meet minimum standards.’ Short urges the implementation of a robust testing regime, adding: ‘MRFs must be required to carry out frequent analysis of their materials and they must be subject to regular, unscheduled tests of their facilities by the Environment Agency.’

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