British Plastics Federation welcomes China's "National Sword" initiative / Plan to highlight sustainable UK recycling markets
The recycling group of the British Plastics Federation (BPF, London / UK; has welcomed moves by China to tighten the quality of waste imports into the country. Noting the recent announcement from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) that it will hold a year-long programme – known as "National Sword 2017" (see of 01.03.2017) – to examine foreign waste, including plastics, the BPF said the action would highlight the importance of having sustainable plastic recycling markets within the UK, and not relying on exports.

The National Sword 2017 initiative will look at processing methods, country of origin and end products to be made from plastic regrind. The BPF said it welcomed the implementation to increase the quality of sorting plastic waste for recycling.

Roger Baynham, chairman of the BPF’s recycling group, said: “Current avenues for low-quality sorted material through export prevent a focus on driving up the quality of the material collected within the UK. This means 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.” Baynham said that a quality standard for all material going into the plastic recycling stream, whether it was 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.”

The BPF also called for the standard to apply to all parts of the plastic recycling industry, including packaging waste, electrical and electronic equipment, end-of-life vehicles and construction. Baynham said that 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 whilst securing resources for the country.”
17.03.2017 [236468-0]
Published on 17.03.2017
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