WRAP should refocus on the “unfinished task of recycling market development”, according to the Resource Association.
In its response to last week’s report from Defra, Resource Management: a catalyst for growth and productivity (see story here), the trade body also called for more leadership on resource efficiency policy from the Government in Europe, and for Defra to research how more material could be recycled in the UK rather than exported.
Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson (pictured) welcomed the repot and hoped it would act as a reminder to the Government of the industry’s value and potential.
He added: “Acknowledging that we presently face a period of turbulence and uncertainty, whether that is due to the resources policy hiatus in Europe and at home, or commodity prices, or to eurozone uncertainty, or indeed all three and more, we must use this period of uncertainty to look ahead and refresh our long-term ambition.
“With that in mind, we offer three key points in response to the report.
Secondary Commodity Markets 2015 – the conference for buyers and sellers of recyclable materials takes place on 3 March 2015 in London. Find out more here
“First, the United Kingdom’s active engagement with the revisions that will come from the European Commission to European law on waste, resources and the circular economy is essential. Meaningful dialogue with stakeholders on what ‘greater ambition’ should mean is vital, and we should take the opportunity presented to come at this with an ‘all options are possible’ approach, not just to recycling targets but to the whole package of potential around product standards and eco-design, common definitions and reporting and fiscal instruments and ensuring that we are serious about the role for reuse, repair and remanufacturing. In Europe we must lead and shape, not be on the sidelines.
“Second, although the report highlights the contribution of domestic reprocessing we believe it understates the potential for further growth. UK export of recyclables is undoubtedly a British success story (even allowing for issues around illegal shipments of waste) but also means that in some instances potential to add value to product is being lost to overseas manufacturers.
“Reprocessor added value to raw material input (in the manufacture and onward sale of new recycled products) can be at least fivefold the input cost of recovered material. If even a quarter of the £4.35 billion worth of materials exported in 2013 were to be re-shored in UK manufacturing this could add at least £5 billion to UK GDP and significantly improve the already positive figures for GVA/tonne. We call on Defra to consider further research in this area as part of the forward programme following this important report.
“Third, this potential to generate green growth through UK manufacturing using recovered resources needs refreshed impetus and intervention to stimulate home markets for recyclates. Defra has a credible and well established delivery mechanism in the shape of WRAP, and we believe the time is right for Defra to refocus the resource it makes available to WRAP back onto the unfinished task of recycling market development that WRAP was originally founded to facilitate.
“As a starting point, fresh research should be undertaken to establish a new baseline for where the potential for manufacturing growth may lie, the barriers to success and a new route map for the R&D, standards work, product testing, feedstock quality sourcing and other work that will be needed to deliver more manufacturing capacity.”