Resource Association recognises quality of recycling collections

Awards were given to collectors for delivering high quality recycling at the annual Resource Association lecture in London yesterday (July 11).

The winners were selected by the trade body’s reprocessor members, based on the performance over a twelve-month period to meet relevant quality standards, as well as having no loads of recyclables rejected during this time.

Resource Association Chairman Robbie Warden of UPM commented: “Our purpose in initiating this Awards scheme is to emphasise the good practice and the positive work being done to achieve consistently high quality recyclate by suppliers to reprocessors. The quality of recycling remains an issue dear to our hearts and we wanted to showcase to good work being done and say ‘thank you’ to suppliers who deserve acknowledgement and recognition for their efforts.”

Chief Executive Ray Georgeson added: “The recipients come from across the range of local authority, private sector and social enterprise interests in the supply chain and are a testament to the way all parts of that chain can work well to deliver high quality recycling. Our congratulations go to all those recognised and we ask you to keep up the good work! To others we say, feel free to understand in more detail how well-designed collection and sorting systems, combined with dedication and good communication between the generator of the resource, the intermediaries and the end-users can produce consistency and high quality. Forget Mission Impossible, this is Mission Possible!”

Recipients of the awards were:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in conjunction with Bryson Recycling (nominated by Huhtamaki Lurgan)
  • the Co-op (nominated by DS Smith Recycling)
  • Conwy County Borough Council (nominated by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, ACE-UK)
  • Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee (nominated by Palm Recycling)
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (nominated by Novelis Recycling)
  • Wastesavers Recycling Ltd (nominated by UPM-Kymmene UK)

A new approach to the circular economy

Delivering the Resource Association’s annual lecture, Dominic Hogg, Chairman of consultants Eunomia, challenged the industry to rethink its rationale for the circular economy.

Stating that advocates frequently refer to resource scarcity and its associated costs, Dr Hogg noted that this presumption of scarcity was not borne out by historical and recent economic data. By way of example, he noted the contrast in the market prices for recyclable materials today when compared with four years ago. It was, he said, ‘hubris to believe prices would drive business to engage in the circular economy’.

He added that there was a significant opportunity for businesses that adopt this approach and the challenge for the waste resources industry was to ‘articulate what these benefits are, how they arise, where they arise and what is required to realise those gains’.

Reflecting on the ‘tremendous uncertainty’ posed by Brexit, Dr Hogg said that speculating on what the final outcome will be for the UK waste resources sector was currently ‘nigh on impossible’. Instead he challenged those involved to focus on developing a shared vision for the constructive role it can plan in the years ahead.

Observing that currently the ‘biggest game in town’ is the Government’s Industrial Strategy he said that the challenge was for the sector to now demonstrate the value it can add to the economy in this context, based on the role it can play in the material supply chain and environmental benefits: “Our sector deal is an offer to all other sectors, it isn’t an inward looking, ‘can you do something for us.’ I think we have to say what we can do for those other sectors. And wouldn't it be interesting if the Government engaged positively with those other sectors, too, and said, 'you should engage with the waste resource sector, as these people are going to help with how you make things, how you design things'. We should come forward with an offer to other sectors saying what we can do for them, such as offering new models for how they design products.”