THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT RECYCLING AND THE CARBON CHALLENGE
During the last 10 years the recycling industry has seen some big changes and not all of them good.
In the early years, typically only cardboard and paper was separated and collected often by paper merchants.
As the waste industry gradually moved away from landfill, and recycling was in demand, they saw as did we, the opportunity to collect the card and paper themselves to bale it and sell it to the paper mills.
This developed from there as sorting plants came on line to a mixed recycling service where anything plastic, metal or paper could be mixed together in one bin. These materials even baled together at the height of the commodity market were achieving rebates of up to £50 a tonne – however this was short lived.
The biggest issue the industry faced with dry mixed recycling was contamination caused either by confusion, or the deliberate misuse of the bins simply as they were cheaper than a general waste bin.
This has now led to the industry reducing what is acceptable in a DMR bin, returning the contents to a cleaner but more restricted waste stream.
Quality is still the biggest challenge, so even the cleanest mixed recycling still has to be processed in a sorting plant to ensure it meets the stricter export rules introduced in 2013. This of course just adds pressure on the producer of the waste, to check bins are only used correctly by their staff to avoid rejected bins or penalties.