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.