Trade body The Recycling Association has said there must be a continual focus on quality materials for the export market.
Following the decision by the Chinese Government to emphasise that its Green Fence policy continues until the end of November (as originally planned) through its announcement of the Earth Goddess phase, it appears that little has changed other than a requirement to meet existing Chinese law.
Indeed, The Recycling Association expects that this Earth Goddess initiative is the Chinese Government highlighting that it will continue to remain vigilant about illegal exports of material to China.
The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “As an organisation we have fully supported China’s efforts to weed out the illegal exporters of material into their country. For our industry to be sustainable in the long term and to provide the healthy competition a global market brings, we must undertake the process of continuous improvement.
“When Green Fence came into play at the beginning of the year, it was a wake-up call to the industry that we had to improve and all the reports I have heard from China is that our members have reacted very positively to this and we will continue this process to embrace the Earth Goddess initiative.
“The UK recycling industry should be a partnership that also embraces all the links in the chain including the producers of the material. Local authorities in particular have a duty of care to ensure that materials picked up and reprocessed by our members are of the highest quality which will facilitate a better quality output.
“I would, however, like to make a distinction here between the materials our members export which is principally recovered paper and plastics and China’s quoted objective of ‘combating the illegal behaviour of smuggling hazardous waste’. Using recovered paper as an example, and according to the European standard EN643, we are allowed a maximum out throw of 1.5 per cent and, as long as this throw out is not hazardous, we do not want to get tarred with the same brush as shippers exporting waste batteries, clothes, slag and tyre as is being reported from China.
“However, we can only go so far. We have European standards that we adhere to on out throw, and small accepted but non-hazardous amount of out throw are inevitable and are part and parcel of our industry and these loads should not be targeted by the relevant authorities. These authorities should be targeting the explicit criminal element on the fringes of our industry that blight the marketplace for everyone else.”
It is expected that the Chinese Green Fence will last beyond its predicted end in November.