As part of urgent efforts to prevent the landfilling of recyclable plastics, Recoup is lobbying the Environment Agency to agree special measures on storage exemptions.
Temporary measures are needed because material flow in the plastic recycling market has been disrupted by a unique decrease in values and demand. This has left some companies with excess material they cannot store or sell. Companies that can store or polymer separate mixed bottles under their EA licences are doing so because the market is not expected to recover until the first quarter of 2009.
However, other companies may be forced to landfill material in the short-term.
Recoup project manager Stuart Foster told MRW that landfilling is avoidable if: The EA, as regulators, take immediate action to introduce measures to allow additional temporary storage capacity.
He explained that: The issue is any sites would need to be approved and licensed by the EA and this usually takes time to prepare and gain approval.
Foster suggested that old disused airfields could be used for maybe six months.
Recoup is requesting that this decision be fast-tracked to allow some slack in the system until the markets recover. Foster added: With recovery, its not a case of if but when.
Foster said: Many local authorities and waste management companies continue to produce mixed baled plastics bottles. The current situation is unique and needs a rapid response from the EA to approve temporary storage areas. Better still, wed like the ability for EA approved plastics brokers, carriers, materials recycling facilities and reprocessors to have temporary permission to extend storage with immediate effect given that such moves were notified to the EA in writing with appropriate details.
Recoup said it hoped to have a decision from the EA within weeks.