Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Green Fence drives up quality, says Recycling Association

UK reprocessors are improving the quality of their output in response to the Chinese crackdown on the import of low quality materials known as Operation Green Fence, claims the Recycling Association.

The association’s Export Sub-Group reviewed the impact of the Chinese operation in a meeting attended by waste management companies, reprocessors and trade bodies.

These included representatives of Biffa, Mark Lyndon UK, Williams Recycling, IFP, Viridor, Cyclelink, International Recovered Paper, Reliance Fibres, Grundon Waste Management, Prismm, Recycling UK, Veolia and the Environmental Services Association.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association, told MRW recyclers were increasingly aware of Chinese import standards.

“Only the best quality material is now reaching China,” he said. “The worst quality material stays in the UK and undergoes further cleaning before being exported, and its overall volume is declining.”

Ellin said one of the main points of concern for exporters was the level of moisture tolerated by Chinese customs officials. “Chinese authorities have confirmed that it is not a numerical threshold but what the material looks like when it reaches China.”

He added that the relatively dry weather in the UK in recent weeks had helped reduce moisture levels. However, he said that recyclers may now consider drying their materials before shipping them or moving them to covered storage.

Recyclers have not lamented any impact on profits as a result of the Green Fence Operation so far, according to Ellin.

The Recycling Association Export Sub-Group will meet again in October to further review the situation.

Readers' comments (1)

  • From John Glover, MD, Bywaters. The quality of the materials we produce has always been high, but shippers have become frightened to export material that they believe may be caught by the green fence. For some materials the quality remains high but it is not being shipped to China at the current time. All our material is processed under cover from start to finish and if there is concern about moisture levels we would like to claim a "dryness" premium.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.