The number of local authorities specifying the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers' Association (CHSA) Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme for plastic refuse sacks has risen significantly during 2013.
“The escalation in the number of those specifying that their suppliers meet the criteria of the scheme has risen because of the rigour of the scheme and the increase in awareness of it,” said David Garcia, chairman of Polaris Plastics and member of the CHSA council. “Earlier this year we increased the rigour of the scheme and it has paid dividends for both members and buyers of plastic refuse sacks.”
In addition to the current system of independently assessed self-regulation and random spot checks, the CHSA upgraded the formal annual audit of all scheme members at the beginning of 2013.
Members of the scheme use the British Standards Institute's drop test to assess if the sacks match the 'fit for purpose' specifications of light, medium, heavy and extra heavy duty. The products are then labelled according to the results of the test, so enabling buyers to be certain they are getting what they pay for. Gordon Butt, a former Trading Standards officer, reviews each member's testing procedures to ensure standards are met. In addition, he undertakes a formal annual audit of each member's products.
“There are many unscrupulous companies in the industry who are here today and gone tomorrow because they care little about whether or not they are giving the customer a product that's 'fit for purpose',” said David Garcia, chairman of Polaris Plastics. “Our scheme members care very much, which is why they voted to introduce greater rigour to the Scheme's inspection regime. We're delighted the number of local authorities recognising the rigour of our scheme has increased so significantly and that they are now specifying that their suppliers meet the criteria set out for membership of our Manufacturing Accreditation Scheme.”
The drop test is fairly straightforward; the sack is filled to a pre-defined weight, then dropped from a specific height and assessed. 10 sacks are tested in this way. If at least nine resist damage to no more than the specified limit, the batch can be considered to have passed and be suitable for the 'duty' category in question.