The Chinese green fence has led to a stockpile of materials that is increasing the fire risk to UK plastics businesses, the British Plastics Federation’s Recycling Group (BPFRG) has said.
With the recent fire at Jayplas in Birmingham apparently caused when a sky lantern landed on bales of plastic, the BPFRG has said that its members should ensure fire risk assessments are up-to-date.
It said that because of the Chinese green fence, which has limited the amount of recyclable material exported to the country, has cause a build up of waste materials in the supply chain in the UK.
While supporting the Marine Conservation Society’s Don’t Let Go campaign which discourages the use of balloons and sky lanterns for both sustainability and fire risk reasons, the BPFRG has also said that the green fence has had a number of other implications for the UK plastics industry.
In a statement, the BPFRG said: “China provided a market for an estimated 920k tonnes of plastic in 2010. The BPFRG believes the UK is in effect not only exporting resources but also the jobs which could be created in UK recycling and manufacturing sectors.
“The BPF believes that the Chinese green fence has many implications and that the issues holding back the further development of markets for recycled plastics in the domestic market now need urgent resolution.
“The BPFRG has proposed a demand-side stimulus to kick-start more domestic plastics recycling. This would enable users of recycled plastics to offset their obligation under the Producer Responsibility legislation, thus reducing their compliance costs and providing a commercial incentive to use more recyclate.
“The proposal has been discussed with officials in Defra and the group is now urging the Government to accelerate the implementation of changes in legislation.”