Margaret Bates appointed as OPRL Executive Director

The On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme has appointed Professor Margaret Bates as its first full-time Executive Director.

Bates joins OPRL from the University of Northampton, where she has been Professor of Sustainable Wastes Management since 2012, specialising in landfill, energy from waste, resource efficiency and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Professor Margaret Bates
Professor Margaret Bates

Alongside her academic career, Bates also held the position of President of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) in 2016/17. Her term as Chair of CIWM’s Executive Committee came to an end earlier this month, though Bates remains Chair of the CIWM Scientific and Technical Committee.

As Executive Director, Bates will manage the team at OPRL’s new Banbury offices, leading the company’s mission to become the UK’s mandatory recycling labelling system, whilst also developing a suite of services to support members in preparing for extended producer responsibility (EPR) reforms.

Taking over from Stuart Lendrum, who took up the role of Head of Packaging at Iceland Foods in March this year, Bates will assume her role as Executive Director in mid-February 2020.

OPRL’s announcement comes as the company prepares to launch its latest labelling rules, following a review process launched in July.

Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL, said: “We are delighted to appoint Margaret as Executive Director, a role important at any time but critical at this point in our development as a circularity services company. Her track record as a highly respected and independent researcher and commentator on key issues affecting our sector makes her the ideal person to lead OPRL through the big changes we are navigating currently. Her deep and broad knowledge of the strategic issues our sector faces, together with her extensive networks within both the industry and academia, giver her a unique, evidence-led perspective that fits perfectly with our mission and values.

“Margaret’s recent time as Chair of CIWM’s Executive Committee means she is no stranger to leading institutional reform, invaluable experience as OPRL strengthens its organisational capacity to meet the challenges of EPR and to further our aspiration to become the UK’s mandatory recycling labelling scheme.

“I am immensely grateful to Stuart Lendrum for his time as our first ever Executive Director. He achieved a huge amount in a year – many people not even realising the role was part-time – and moved us to be a credible player as our industry reaches this once in a generation sustainability tipping point. A huge thanks also to our team, and to Alice Harlock in particular, for all their support as we’ve managed the interregnum.”

Bates added: “Consumers want to do the right thing with their packaging but they’re often confused about what can be recycled. OPRL is the most widely recognised recycling label in the UK and so is an invaluable tool in communicating with householders.

“It’s a very challenging time in the packaging and recycling sectors, with an unprecedented level of interest from the public and politicians. The opportunity to join the team at OPRL and help drive awareness to increase the quality and quantity of UK recycling was one I could not resist.”

You can find out more on the OPRL website

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