Mike Ritchie speaks to Footprint News on ‘chain of responsibility’ provisions in Council recycling tenders

The following interview was published on Tuesday 14 May 2019 by Footprint News.

Several councils have started adding “chain of responsibility” clauses to their tender documents for recycling services, according to waste expert Mike Ritchie.

Ritchie, who heads the MRA Consulting Group, told Footprint that some councils are starting to request certification or other evidence of the destination and fate of collected recyclables.

“If one of the companies in Australia that receives the material is exporting it, then they have to demonstrate where it is going and what it is being used for,” he said.

“We are seeing a number of councils requesting us to incorporate that into contracts.”

The provisions have been included in contracts currently out for tender and it remains to be seen what evidence waste companies are willing to provide, Ritchie said.

“This is a fairly new phase, it will be interesting to see how the tenderers respond”.

Councils must also decide how much weighting to give the ‘chain of responsibility’ requirement when assessing tenders, Ritchie said.

Ritchie also welcomed amendments to the international Basel Convention that will strengthen regulatory controls on exports of plastic waste (see background here).

The changes mean that exporters of mixed plastics must demonstrate they have “a bona fide receiver who wants that material” and satisfy government approval requirements, he said.

The shift will result in a welcome increase in transparency about exports of plastics and will boost consumer confidence that the wastes are being properly managed, Ritchie said.

This interview was originally posted on footprintnews.com.au on 14 May 2019.