MRF code of practice consultation unveiled

A consultation on the long-anticipated code of practice for materials recycling facilities has been launched by Resources Management Minister Lord de Mauley today, together with a quality action plan.

The proposals set out in the new code of practice are designed to improve the quality of recycling collected from homes and businesses, and will also promote a stronger market for recycled materials.

The consultation, launched at Veolia’s Environmental Services’ MRF in Southwark, will seek local authority and industry views on introducing regulations that will require all permitted MRFs processing more than 1,000 tonnes of dry recyclate per annum, to routinely measure the quality of recycling.

Under the proposals, MRF operators will be required to measure the quality of the input, output and residual waste streams. Information on quality will then be made available, via the Environment Agency, to local authorities and reprocessors. The code, however, will not set minimum quality standards.

“The recycling sector alone now generates more than £10bn in sales, employs more than 30,000 people and contributes around £3bn in gross value added to the UK economy,” said Lord de Mauley.

“I believe there is a strong business and environmental case for driving up quality. It is in our interests to obtain the maximum economic value from our recyclates, whatever the material. The right levels of quality will unlock and deliver value to the whole supply chain.”

Veolia Environmental Services’ chief executive officer Estelle Brachlianoff added: “We welcome this announcement, which heralds industry consistency for all operators and will standardise material testing regimes, methodology and scheme compliance.”

The MRF code will require changes to the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) and would come into force on 6 April 2014. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 26 April.

Nick Warburton

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