Businesses are recognising that there may not be enough material to fulfil their needs so are looking to secure supply, according to LRS chairman Paul Levett.
Speaking at the Growth Opportunities in Recycling and Waste conference in London last week, the former Veolia Environmental Services deputy chief executive said that the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe from the European Union is likely to lead to a trend where more recycled materials will be used in products.
He added: “This could lead to shortages of material. Large companies are already looking at the issue of security of supply. They recognise that there won’t be enough supply.
“There is first mover advantage to locking in supply of material. MRFs will also have to produce higher quality material to meet tougher export requirements.”
He also said that there is an issue with the enforcement of the Trans Frontier Shipment Regulations and that the Government is aware that this needs to be tightened up.
Paul Levett added: “Thousands of containers are heading to the docks all of the time and the Environment Agency can’t cop with policing them all. Maybe materials will be inspected at the MRFs rather than the docks [as a way of tightening up the policing of the regulations].”
Also speaking at the event was SITA UK external affairs director Gev Eduljee. He said that the efficiency of which we use our materials in terms of recycling and reuse is 20 per cent in the EU. The UK is on 16 per cent, India is about 5 per cent and China 2 to 3 per cent. He warned that as a result, there is a compelling argument that we must use our resource more carefully and increase the efficiency of how we use our materials to ensure that we extract as much use out of them as possible.
He added” We are moving from a disposal business model to a new business model driven by commodity prices. We don’t have enough manufacturing capacity in the UK, so we can only place half of the material we pick up here. If we limit exports, we will have to send material back to landfill. The better option is to create places to send material in this country and create jobs, as well as having an export market option.”