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Quality a 'relative concept'

The quality of materials is a “relative concept” that we should think of from both ends of the spectrum, SCA Recycling managing director Ken Stevens believes.

In a seminar session explaining why materials recycling facilities (MRFs) have a role to play in the UK’s waste management infrastructure, Stevens analysed the true definition of quality. He said: “Quality is a question of degree, it is not necessarily a finite thing. The quality of something depends upon a set of characteristics and a set of requirements. How well does the former comply with the latter?”

The issue was being addressed because some in the materials recycling sector argue that MRFs do not output materials of a high quality, instead, leaving materials contaminated with residues which cannot be used for high quality end products.

Stevens believes that the whole chain of participants in the recycling industry have different sets of requirements, which should be clearly understood by one-another in each step. Indeed, the key to the future success of UK MRFs is a comprehensive “education package” delivered across the whole of the chain from packaging designer right through to the reprocessor and back to the retailer and householder.

Stevens added: “I’m not sure we always speak the same language in the UK but it is important that we do otherwise we will be misinformed.”

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