Plastics recyclers give cautious welcome to MRF Code of Practice regulations


ECO Plastics and Closed Loop Recycling have given their backing to the MRF Code of Practice regulations, but would like to see them taken further.

Both of the plastics recyclers want to see the regulations extended from what is currently proposed to improve the quality of the feedstock they receive.


ECO Plastics deputy chairman Jonathan Short said: “We are pleased that the Government has understood the importance of tackling the declining quality of the UK’s waste stream and introduced a compulsory Code of Practice, and that the system will be actively policed by the Environment Agency. Full transparency through the publication of testing results is another important step that will pay dividends in increasing industry confidence.

“That said, regulations are only as valuable as the inspection process used to enforce them, and the sampling qualities and frequency of testing envisioned is a long way below what is needed to come close to robustly measuring the quality of inputs and outputs. There is a very real concern that MRFs that do not wish to comply will be able to flout the rules because of the extent to which the process has been watered down.”

He added that he was dismayed that higher quality output was automatically seen as a threat by some waste management companies. He said: “It is frustrating that some companies have only viewed the Code from a negative perspective. MRFs should embrace the regulations as a tool to deliver the industry-wide improvement which will drive up the pricing of the entire market, adding value for all stakeholders. I continue to look forward to the day when I no longer receive 18 per cent contamination in my feedstock.

“At ECO Plastics, we have to comply with stringent quality requirements, and so carry out assessments on 30 per cent of the material that enters our gates, with a goal to reach 100 per cent by the autumn. Our partnership with Coca-Cola Enterprises is proof of the benefits that delivering a reliable, first-rate product can bring.”

“The recycling industry would be more than happy to pay a top market price for material that we know is high-quality. I believe that this is really about opportunity, not threat.”

Closed Loop Recycling chief executive Chris Dow said: “The UK recycling industry and the wider UK economy has so much to gain from a regulatory system designed to improve the quality of material that feeds into reprocessors such as ourselves. Such a system, which is built upon transparency and regular reporting, should provide an enormous opportunity for the whole waste and recycling industry to work in partnership to really close the loop on waste – the backbone of the circular economy.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, although we’d still like to see it go further in helping us and our industry partners develop a sustainable business model where we can ensure that the UK is the recycling powerhouse of Europe.” 

If you would like a free trial to our weekly Intelligence materials pricing and analysis report, email