FCC chief executive: recycling industry is broken


The chief executive of FCC Environment has said that reports of the rejection rate of recycling being at their highest since 2011 shows the recycling “industry is broken”.

Paul Taylor said that ambitious recycling rates are unachievable and are driven by the green lobby’s agenda, rather than market reality.


In a statement on the BBC Freedom of Information request of council rejection rates, he added that the biggest dilemma facing the waste and recycling industry today is how best to balance and align environmental imperatives with hard, economic realities. He said the industry is fragmented by:

  • Low commodity prices offering dwindling returns for reprocessors
  • Recycling rates continue to flatline
  • Creative changes to recycling definitions in order to reach already existing targets
  • A lack of infrastructure capability and investment in new waste facilities
  • An increasing uncertainty around the value of RDF exports in the light of a volatile currency market.

Instead, he advocates an approach involving more waste to energy facilities. He said: “What is becoming evident is a disconnect between the political environment and the economic reality. Our domestic economy has a great deal to gain by redefining waste as a commodity, whether that be in the form of secondary materials or energy. Creating energy from waste is a sensible and sustainable option.”