There is no 0% contamination requirement for recovered paper for export the Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Waste & Resources Action Programme, EA policy advisor David Bradley said: We are not going to specify a percentage in any guidance we produce. We want to concentrate our efforts on poor or superficial sorting.
The question about the level of allowable contamination in paper for export was raised by Community Waste director Philip Serfaty, who had previously received a letter from the EA stating recovered paper for export must have 0% contamination. The implication being that companies exceeding this could be prosecuted. This has been in contrast to the Publicly Available Specification for recovered paper for UK end markets, PAS105, which allows 2% contamination.
Bradley said that the EA was concentrating efforts on upstream regulation, shifting checks to materials recycling facilities (MRFs) rather than ports to ensure green list waste or recyclables for export are suitable for reprocessing and not mixed waste. So far over 200 inspections at MRFs have been made by the EA.
On the whole we have seen better quality materials than previously but there are still areas of concern and we will be putting the spotlight on these facilities, Bradley said.
Pressed on what these concerns were, Bradley said: In some cases whats coming off the end of MRF lines is not of sufficient quality to be validly green list. He suggested this was because these MRFs probably dont have the right procedures in place or are operating over capacity.