A leading figure in the world’s plastics sector has praised China’s Green Fence crackdown on standards while raising concerns about political leaders in the UK and Germany questioning the current use of ‘green’ taxes.
Surendra Borad, second from left above, who chairs the plastics committee of the Bureau of International Recycling, told the organisation’s autumn convention in Warsaw that although Green Fence had “led to widespread confusion and indecisiveness in the plastics scrap trade”, it would be for the greater good of all parties in the long term.
Borad acknowledged immediate difficulties over the Chinese rejecting poorer-quality imports:
- Storage and logistical problems
- EU exports of plastic scrap to China down 16% (H1 2013 compared to H1 2012)
- EU exports to Hong Kong down 26% (same period)
- German exports to China down 24%
- US exports down 7%
But he said he was sure all economies would gain eventually: “Ultimately in any industry, quality is the precondition for sustainability. Our recycling business will survive and grow for a long time only if the quality is stressed. [Green Fence] is undoubtedly a blessing in disguise.”
Borad was concerned at what he saw as a shift in the mindset of politicians in the UK and Germany over green energy and renewables which placed greater emphasis on the economy rather than the environment.
“I read two weeks ago that the [UK] Prime Minister’s number one concern is no longer the environment or associating himself with windmills or recycling of rubbish – note the word ‘recycling of rubbish’. Instead, it is the looming General Election and the cost of living.”
He added there was also now a serious debate in Germany about the country’s “costly” transition to renewables when the German consumer already paid the highest electricity prices in Europe.
“These debates in two important economies of the EU raise important issues which will have significant impact on the recycling industry.”