Some relief from China, but not enough?

By Paul Sanderson


On Friday it is Black Friday when some retailers will be offering discounts on loads of consumer goods. 

In a matter of just a few years, Black Friday has become a UK institution after being developed in the United States as a shopping day for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. 

But it has also become a day when some less scrupulous retailers lower prices after raising them the week before, effectively leaving them where they had been anyway. 

This is kind of how the news from China feels about the 0.5% allowed contamination levels that were revealed last week. 

Currently, it is permitted to send 1.5% contamination within loads to China, but the Chinese had proposed 0.3% in August. 

Therefore, there has been some relief that China has increased the amount of out-throw it will allow, even though effectively it means reducing the accepted amount by 1% of the total. 

Maybe this was clever psychology by the Chinese Government, or maybe they just listened to their own recyclers and the efforts of trade associations, including The Recycling Association in the UK. 

However, the 0.5% level is going to be really, really hard to meet. My view is that this can only be met by proactively sorting to this level, leaving a lot of material for other destinations. 

In order to meet this 0.5% level on a large scale, we need to transform everything from the beginning. This means packaging needs to be designed to be recyclable, and manufactured to be easily recyclable. That doesn’t mean theoretically recyclable, but that the public look at it and go, yep, I can recycle that.  

Need to know more about alternative destinations for your recyclable materials, post-China? Attend the REB Recycling End Markets Conference on the 13th December to find out the essential information :