Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Resource Association today released a report highlighting the cost burden on UK reprocessors and manufacturers resulting from poor and inconsistent quality of recyclate.

The findings of the Costs of Contamination Report 2012 show that poor and inconsistent quality recyclate is a significant financial burden for British industry.  It identifies a conservative estimate of over £51 million a year of costs associated with the management of poor and inconsistent quality recyclate, representing an average of £15.67 per tonne for over 3 million tonnes of reprocessing capacity featured in the survey.

The report surveyed all of the Resource Association’s reprocessor members and all nine reprocessors participated in the research.  The capacity surveyed for this research represents around half of all the UK reprocessing capacity that exists for paper and card, plastics, aluminium and glass.

Chairman of the Resource Association Andy Doran commented: “This report clearly shows the extent to which poor and inconsistent quality of recyclate adds real cost for the UK manufacturing base.  This represents a missed opportunity for the UK - it is a cost burden that hampers investment and costs jobs, all to the detriment of the UK green economy.”

Chief Executive Ray Georgeson added: “The drive for quantity has come in part at the expense of quality, and what might be seen as the delivery of cost savings at the collection end of recycling appears simply to be shifting costs into the manufacturing end of recycling.  We question how long must the UK reprocessing sector carry this burden.”

In the report, the Association restated its calls for:

  • a fresh look at the whole municipal recycling supply chain, including action to better regulate the output of MRFs
  • this must include a mandatory MRF Code of Practice that demonstrably improves the quality of UK MRF output through a robust system of monitoring, material sampling and unannounced inspections
  • further robust action by regulators to enforce TFS Regulations and ensure that all recyclate exported meets legal quality requirements – doing this would undoubtedly lead to quality improvements in the recyclate also destined for UK reprocessors
  • more research by Government and its agencies to understand better the relationship between collection systems, public behaviour and contamination of recyclate - with the purpose of improving communications and operational practice to deliver better quality.  

The findings of the report will be submitted to the various Governments in the UK as part of the on-going policy discussion about delivering high quality recycling.