BPFRG welcomes tightening of controls on Chinese imports

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) has recently announced it will be holding a year-long action ‘Border-gate sword 2017’ (also known as National Sword 2017) to look at — among other things — foreign waste, including plastics. This campaign, according to the British Plastics Federation Recycling Group (BPFRG), will look at processing methods, country of origin and end products to be made from plastic regrinds.

The BPFRG said it welcomed the implementation of drivers to increase the quality of sorting plastic waste for recycling.

"Current avenues for low quality sorted material through export prevents a focus on driving up the quality of the material collected within the UK. This means that UK recyclers have to spend resources sorting material, even if it has already been through a sorting process, before they can reprocess it. This in turn reduces their yield," said Roger Baynham, chairman of the Recycling Group before predicting: A quality standard for all material going into the plastic recycling stream, whether it is recycled in the UK or exported, would ensure a level playing field and enable UK facilities to compete for material.

"This would also reduce any effects that an initiative such as ‘Border-gate sword 2017’ might have upon the market. This standard needs to apply for all parts of the plastic recycling industry including packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), end-of-life vehicles and construction," added Baynham.

The GAC announcement, according to the BPFRG, also shows the importance of having sustainable markets for plastic recycling within the UK and not relying on export. With a tightening of controls on imports into China and stricter regulation on facilities within the country, the market for UK plastic recycling within China is likely to reduce.

Baynham again: A sustainable market for plastic recycling within the UK would ensure this valuable material is available to UK-based manufacturers which would help contribute towards a local circular economy. It would also help support UK jobs within these industries while securing resources for the country. The BPFRG has been calling for Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) reform for years as a tool to ensure there is a level playing field with exports — and views the announcement of GACC as a further motivator for the current PRN system to be reviewed.”

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