OPRL appoints Margaret Bates as executive director

As OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) membership and services continue to expand, the organisation has appointed Professor Margaret Bates as its first full time executive director. Margaret will lead the team established in OPRL’s new Banbury offices, charged with making the voluntary recycling labelling scheme ‘match fit for mandatory’, the development of a suite of services to support members in preparing for Extended Producer Responsibility Reforms and continuing both to grow and expand the breadth of OPRL membership.

Margaret’s appointment will further embed OPRL’s role as an independent, evidence-based meeting point for all parts of the packaging circular economy. The appointment comes as OPRL prepares to launch the latest revision of its Recycling Labelling Rules adopting ISO 14021 methodology and strengthens compliance audits to ISO 19011 standards.

Jane Bevis, chair of OPRL, said: “We are delighted to appoint Margaret as executive director, a role important at any time but critical at this point in our development as a circularity services company. Her track record as a highly respected and independent researcher and commentator on key issues affecting our sector makes her the ideal person to lead OPRL through the big changes we are navigating currently. Her deep and broad knowledge of the strategic issues our sector faces, together with her extensive networks within both the industry and academia, give her a unique, evidence-led perspective that fits perfectly with our mission and values.

“Margaret’s recent time as chair of CIWM’s executive committee means she’s no stranger to leading institutional reform, invaluable experience as OPRL Ltd strengthens its organisational capacity to meet the challenges of EPR and to further our aspiration to become the UK’s mandatory recycling labelling scheme.

“I am immensely grateful to Stuart Lendrum for his time as our first ever executive director.  He achieved a huge amount in a year – many people not even realising the role was part-time – and moved us to be a credible player as our industry reaches this once in a generation sustainability tipping point.  A huge thanks also to our team, and to Alice Harlock in particular, for all their support as we’ve managed the inter regnum.”

Professor Margaret Bates was appointed Professor of Sustainable Wastes Management at the University of Northampton in 2012. Her term as chair of the executive committee of CIWM ended earlier this month, though she remains chair of the CIWM Scientific and Technical Committee and is on the board of WAMITAB.  She has led projects establishing sustainable e-waste services and sustainability capacity building in Palestine and a number of African and Latin American countries, as well as reviewing research programmes at EU and UK levels. She advises government and parliamentarians on resource issues and regularly makes media appearances.

Margaret Bates said: “Consumers want to do the right thing with their packaging but they’re often confused about what can be recycled.  OPRL is the most widely recognised recycling label in the UK and so is an invaluable tool in communicating with householders.

“It’s a very challenging time in the packaging and recycling sectors, with an unprecedented level of interest from the public and politicians.  The opportunity to join the team at OPRL and help drive awareness to increase the quality and quantity of UK recycling was one I could not resist.”

Margaret takes up her role as executive d3irector at OPRL Ltd in mid-February 2020.

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