The Recycling Association issued its 2018 Quality First Report in September and made a strong case for recycling in the UK to be simplified.
How can we make recycling easier for consumers and businesses?
The Association has been running campaigns since 2016 and has always held the opinion that the quality of recycled materials in the UK needs improving. Managing Director Simon Ellin commented: “Yes, there was plenty of excellent material being produced. But, as with all aspects of life, it was the bad stuff that was capturing the headlines and damaging the overall reputation of the industry.”
Simon is now far more confident that the recycling landscape in the UK is in a better place. He says: “Never before has the quality of recycled materials, processes and infrastructure been so heavily scrutinised – at home and abroad, by industry and the general public.”
Quality First has helped the UK meet the challenges that have been presented within the recycling sector over these two years. It has also provided the voice needed to ensure the UK recycling industry is involved in all discussions whenever recycling practices are called into question in the national media.
Simon is convinced that Quality First has enabled two key recycling issues to be spotlighted: the impact packaging design has on recycling, and whether UK recyclers have the ability to meet the quality standards demanded globally.
This report from The Recycling Association highlights a need in the UK for a simpler recycling supply chain. Its principal recommendations are as follows:
– For packaging manufacturers and retailers to follow Tesco’s lead and use approved listings of materials for packaging.
– Ideally keep all packaging down to one single material, with the addition of a simple label providing clear signposting on whether the package can be recycled or not.
– Simplified collection of recycling from local authorities, offering a standard collection of the same materials nationwide.
– All improvements to the recycling supply chain to be funded by producers, with the manufacturers who produce materials that cannot be recycled paying the most.
– UK government support for investment into nationwide recycling infrastructure for collections, sorting and re-processing.
Simon concluded by saying: “We’ve taken the first steps towards quality, but we’ve got so much further to go.” The entire Quality First Report is available online.
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