Increasing recycling rates and achieving material quality are daily realities, and councils should help householders recycle a wider range of materials.
Diverting recyclables from landfill is the priority. If you’re not recycling the material, the quality argument is immaterial.
Advances in technology, such as optical screening, eddy currents, screens and air separation, have increased the types and volumes of recyclables that can be processed to the quality demanded by reprocessing and reuse markets.
Until recently plastics were a collection no-no. Now you can collect plastic bottles, mixed plastics and plastic film. A good materials recycling facility (MRF) sorts all plastics into different types.
The Environment Agency claims a typical MRF has an average reject rate of 10.85%. Our current research shows the average is 4.3% and can be as low as 1.4%.
Waste & Resources Action Programme reports on single- and dual-stream MRFs say contamination in twin-stream processes is marginally lower. For me, this is too close to matter.
I advise councils to find out what MRFs can process and to what standards. That way you’ll find one to support your recycling expansion. A good MRF can help identify collection issues so you can go to an area to put things right.
Mick Davis, business development director, Greenstar UK