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Recyclate content Bill aims to help recycling market

A Bill to make provision for the establishment of minimum levels of recyclates in designated products and classes of products has been presented in Parliament.

MP for Southampton Test Alan Whitehead presented the ten-minute Bill in Parliament on 25 February.

The original purpose of the Bill is to bring stabilisation to the recycling market by establishing a secure market for recyclable material. Whitehead said: My ten-minute Bill, which should perhaps be more exactly and accurately entitled the recyclate content Bill, would provide a way to face up to this future and  emerging problem for our waste with confidence and with secure markets, primarily here in this country, for results of our efforts to recover and reuse our waste streams. It would enable the Government to specify levels of recyclate to be included in the production of designated products on sale in the UK. In short, where a product or range of products was designated by the mechanisms contained in the Bill, it would be required, as a condition of sale, to have the right amount of recycled content within it.

Whitehead compared his proposals to that of the renewable transport fuel obligation where producers of fuel in the UK have to include an aggregate of 2.5 per cent in their products. He said the Bill would provide a level playing field for the makers of designated products and, as in the case of the RTFO and the renewables obligation, a buy-out price of the opportunity to purchase credits if someone does not or cannot comply. He added that those exceeding their targets in recyclates have an opportunity to benefit by trading additionally with those who do not.

Whitehead said that there are enormous opportunities for the use of recyclates in products and materials such as glass and plastic which could be used in designated products.

Centre for remanufacturing and reuse head of remanufacturing David Parker has worked with Whitehead and the Waste & Resources Action Programme on the recycled content proposals.

He said that the plans will create a demand for recyclates rather than products that used virgin material. He also said that the system may be a good way of harmonising reuse and recycling by putting 100% recycled content products on the same level as reused products.

The Bill will be read a second time on 8 May 2009.

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