The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has recommended that the MRF code of practice be made mandatory.
Taking the lead in the drafting of the code, the ESA believes that making it compulsory is the best way to go forward.
ESA policy advisor David Sher told MRW: “There may be costs to firms in implementing the procedures and management structures necessary to strengthen their internal systems. Unless the code is mandatory, it may become more difficult for a MRF complying with the code to compete with a non-compliant facility for local authority or commercial business. In the current economic climate, that could cause a real disincentive for operators to sign up.”
“A lot of operators are saying that it is the right thing to do but the difficulty comes if their competitors are not doing it. They would feel more comfortable if it was a level playing field.”
The code of practice would develop quality measurement protocols on the input and output of MRFs. Defra revealed plans to introduce the code after the waste review was published in June.
Defra is currently evaluating the ESA’s proposals and plans to make a decision on whether the code is voluntary or not in the autumn.
Sher said: “Hopefully, it will come to the same conclusions that we have in terms of how we think a mandatory Code will benefit the market. It doesn’t necessarily have to take a regulatory approach.”
He added that the ESA was pushing to get a decision from Defra, which is currently seeking cross-departmental clearance.