At least two members of PaperChain Recycling disagree with the Campaign for Real Recycling’s decision to seek a judicial review over the inclusion of commingled collections in the waste framework directive (WFD). But PaperChain’s official stance is yet to be decided.
PaperChain represents the majority of recovered fibre reprocessors in the UK, including SCA Recycling, St Regis, Aylesford Newsprint, UPM and Smurfit Kappa. It is closely aligned with the Campaign for Real Recycling, which aims to produce the highest quality recycled materials for UK manufacturing.
However, many of PaperChain’s members either own a MRF or use commingled quality paper within their operations, which is at odds with CRR’s decision to fight for the exclusion of commingled collections.
Paper recycler SCA Recycling recently opened a multi-material MRF in Southampton to secure more paper for its operations. It does not agree with CRR’s action. Managing director Ken Stevens said: “In line with some other members of PaperChain we do not feel the need for legal action over this matter. We believe that the type of collection system deployed is dependent upon the local circumstances and whether recyclate is kerbside sorted or collected dry mixed, the management process is key to achieving the highest quality.
“Over 50% of dry recyclable collections are now mixed in one form or another and local authorities that have these systems are consistently achieving higher recycling rates, with good quality outputs.
“In MRFs where there are stringent quality checks throughout the management process it is clear that commingled collections can and do meet the global paper and board quality requirements.”
Chairman of PaperChain Simon Weston is also managing director of Smurfit Kappa. Speaking on behalf of PaperChain he said: “PaperChain’s continuing support for the Campaign for Real Recycling is a matter yet to be discussed and agreed upon by its members.
“Maintaining the highest quality of raw materials is inextricably linked to the competitive position of PaperChain’s UK manufacturing members and is thus crucially important in preserving British jobs.”
Paper mill Aylesford Newprint head of recycling Andrew Perkins said: “I understand the frustrations, borne out of the sense of not being heard over the quality debate. However, I would not go as far as CRR propose to go. I do think they have a legal point but I also believe the Government has to start where it is. In a market where commingled collections already exist, they have to start with them accommodated within the waste framework directive.
“I think the commingled debate has moved on and the question should be about why do some MRFs produce good quality materials and others do not? It’s as much about the quality of the feedstock they have to handle as it is the quality of materials they produce.”