Today’s the day for Defra to unveil its proposals for MRF code in England. This process has been a long time coming, too long in truth.
I remember attending the official opening of the enterprising Coca-Cola/Ecoplastics plant in Lincolnshire last May and hearing the then waste minister Lord Taylor telling us the consultation would start in August. His replacement by Lord de Mauley (now the resource management minister) cannot have helped, and there was the complication of the code being tied into the Environmental Permitting Regulations.
But now it is here, nearly six months late, the big question is: where will it end up?
Consultation in Scotland on the country’s own recyclate quality plan closed a month ago and responses from the major players make interesting and potentially crucial reading south of the border, as Neil Roberts reports on page 4.
Neither the waste management companies or the reprocessors are happy. The Resource Association says the sampling and auditing proposals for MRFs are “wholly inadequate”, would not provide a decent report on performance and would be open to abuse. The Scottish Environmental Services Association, voicing the operators’ concerns, argues the code would introduce quality thresholds by the back door using “highly subjective” standards that would not boost recycling.
Despite not knowing the specifics at the time of writing, there is a strong likelihood that the proposed Defra and Scottish codes will be very similar.
The fascinating thing for industry watchers in the coming months will be how far the major players in our sector are able to influence the political decisions for the final version of the codes in Scotland and England.