The Recycling Association has called for clarification on the rules for exporting material from the UK to China so that both countries can work to the same standards.
Chief executive Simon Ellin told a seminar in Suzhou, China, that exporters of recyclable material needed better information from the regulatory agencies in the UK.
“Without clarification on what can and cannot be exported from the UK to China and elsewhere, it means that it is very difficult for the UK to meet Chinese standards.
“That is why the Recycling Association is calling for the adoption of the EN643 standard for recovered paper as part of its ’Quality First’ campaign. By adopting this as the regulation, the UK would be meeting the Chinese requirement for no more than 1.5% out-throw.
“Talking to people here in China, it is clear they want to do business with the UK but we have to ensure the material continues to meet their specification,” he added.
Ellin said UK regulators should concentrate more on catching established criminals that knowingly export illegal waste.
He told an audience of paper industry exporters from China, Europe, US, Australia and UK that putting quality first was key to long-term sustainability of the UK recovered paper market.
He added: “As China’s green movement grows, we have heard at this conference that businesses in China wish to ensure they are environmentally responsible. The UK must position itself to be China’s number one supplier of material.
“Partnerships are vital for this and the responsibility for quality lies throughout the supply chain, from the design of products all the way through to local authority communications.”
He said the Chinese inspection agency CIQ wanted to liaise with other regulators around the world to work towards similar standards, and he urged UK enforcement agencies to take up the offer.
The seminar has was organised by Cycle Link International, which supplies recovered paper to the Shanying Paper Group.