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BPF's recycling division calls on industry to keep recovered plastic in the UK

The recycling arm of the British Plastics Federation has claimed there is a growing shortage of usable plastic waste in the UK because so much is being exported.

BPF Recycling Group (BPFRG) chairman Roger Baynham, of Philip Tyler Polymers, said: “With Chinese landfill estimated to cost only 5% of that in the UK, there is hardly a level playing field and there is too much temptation for MRF operators to send low-quality used plastics overseas.

“Many of our members have had a longstanding issue over the quality of the output materials from MRFs, which they believe are processing waste more with an eye to volume for the global market than for quality.”

The BPFRG wants councils to be active in establishing exactly where their waste is going, and said it should be part of any MRF’s contract that it collates information on end markets.

The organisation is calling on the Government to tighten up on exports to help create a sustainable domestic supply chain for plastics recycling. It said this would help the industry meet aspirations under the Plastics 20/20 Challenge, whichhas set a target to double the plastics packaging recycling rate by 2020.

“The plastic recycling industry must have access to more waste otherwise as a sector we risk losing credibility with our customers,” added Baynham. “In effect they will say to us that for years you have been wanting us to use more recyclate and now that we’ve geared up to use it, you can’t deliver.”

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