Chinas recyclate inspection agency, CCIC, has awarded Greenstar UKs Aldridge materials recycling facility quality rare approval.
Greenstar invested £7million developing the state-of-the-art MRF, near Birmingham. Chief executive Ian Wakelin described its CCIC accreditation as strategically important and rare.
He said: In these tough times, when national and international markets have reduced demand, quality is absolutely essential if you want to keep on selling recyclates.
Wakelin called export a necessity, adding: Theres five million tonnes of recovered paper collected in the UK each year, some of that has got to go for export because [even before the economic downturn] there isnt demand for this amount in the UK.
Trying to get paper into China is incredibly difficult because their standards are so high. So this accreditation is a confirmation of how high our standards are.
Wakelin rejected claims from some materials reprocessors that commingled collections created low quality material. He said: Were selling paper to UK, European and Far East reprocessors, that has gone through with glass and been processed. It is very acceptable because we have a good quality process. The materials argument isnt about commingled or non-commingled. Its about good quality or bad quality.
If you process material through an excellent process, you will get high quality product that can be sold anywhere in the world. Poor MRFs produce poor products that are difficult to sell. [The debate should be about] the quality of MRFs doing the processing that need to be upgraded.
He said commingled collections were beneficial because they increase material volumes by 20% and are 20% cheaper for councils to run.
Wakelin also denied that any of the companys MRFs were stockpiling material. I dont have a steel, paper or aluminium mountain, I wish I did! We are, and have been, selling everything weve made right through this crisis, if thats what its being described as. Its nonsense to suggest the entire problem has been caused by commingled collection.