Since I started taking an interest in the recycling and reprocessing sector, one thing has been increasingly clear: the industry is crying out for quality.
I am not alone in welcoming Defra’s new focus on recyclate quality. I am referring to the Quality Action Plan (QAP) and the MRF Code of Practice, which were both launched early last month by Defra minister Lord de Mauley.
But how far will the QAP and the MRF Code go towards ensuring that recyclate outputs improve?
The QAP addresses the issue of quality for commercial and household dry recyclables through a range of actions, involving measures to improve everything from the design of collection rounds to data transparency.
The consultation for the MRF Code, which was published alongside the QAP, has a more immediate significance for industry.
Mandatory testing of MRF outputs is a great first step towards making sure all plants in the UK are operating to an acceptable standard for reprocessors. This, combined with improved data transparency, gives local authorities and businesses the option to choose a MRF based on its quality, which will create a more competitive MRF market across the board.
I strongly encourage those in the sector to respond to the consultation and make sure the code in its final form is the best possible tool for improving recyclate quality. With impetus from industry and the Government, this could be a real kick-start to our green economy ambitions.
Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, Conservative peer and co-chair of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group