We are not so much against commingling as for separate collection.
The problem with commingling is that it is usually accompanied by compaction, which often means that the resulting mix of materials is either expensive to sort or rendered unrecyclable. This applies particularly when glass and paper are mixed together.
Commingling results in poor-quality output and contamination rates which are way above the 2% demanded by paper reprocessors, and which are set out in the EN643 standard.
In our experience, most MRFs cannot sort to the standards required, and therefore the issue of collection systems needs to be addressed to ensure that we recover all dry recyclables in a way which is most likely to result in a resource which is fit for purpose.
The waste management industry has been able to get away with selling material into export markets which would not normally meet UK quality standards, but this may not be an option for much longer.
It will then have to rethink its policy on collection systems because it is at this stage of the waste stream that quality is either driven into or out of the product.
David Workman, CPI
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