Metals: Recycling

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 21 November 2023.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to prevent plastic contamination in (a) steel and (b) other metals exported for recycling.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Under UK legislation on shipments of waste most non-hazardous waste metals, including steel, can be exported for recycling under green list controls if they are clean and sorted, with minimal contamination, and only if the receiving country has indicated it is willing to receive such waste. Where contamination levels are greater than the minimal, the waste can only be exported if prior consent has been received from the relevant UK competent authority and the equivalent in the country of destination. Consent will only be provided if it is clear how the waste will be treated and recycled appropriately in the country of destination.

The UK Competent Authorities undertake intelligence led, risk-based checks on waste destined for export to ensure that they comply with our legislation. This includes checks to ensure that rules on contamination levels are being adhered to.

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