Commingling increases recycling rates on two conditions only:
- Glass is collected separately at the household and then on the collection vehicle - it is a moot point whether you can call this true commingling or not.
- The MRF where the commingled waste is to be processed must be fit for purpose and designed to handle commingled material.
Unfortunately, in the UK today, neither condition is fully met. Some commingled collections systems do collect glass separately, but many do not. There are not enough MRFs built today that have the levels of investment and complexity to deal with commingling.
So I conclude that, with today’s collection methods and infrastructure capability, commingling does not equal higher rates of recycling.
To use a phrase from the north, the UK’s collection system is a ‘bugger’s muddle’.
Jonathan Short, chief executive, Ecoplastics
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