The debate on commingling of recyclables has hit national television, with a feature on the BBC’s One Show.
Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles went on the early evening programme to argue for both weekly collections and for the idea that recycling is easier if a single bin is provided for this.
But he said the industry did not yet serve all areas with facilities in which commingled waste could be sorted and that elsewhere “it is probably sensible” to have separate bins.
Bywater’s strategic development manager David Rumble explained how its east London plant can produce packaging materials “as good as anything” from separate collections.
Closed Loop Recycling marketing manager Nick Cliffe said though that removal of contamination made recyclable materials more valuable.
“I would pay about £100 a tonne for a low quality bale of plastic bottles and probably only 50% would be useable by me, but for a good quality bale I’d pay £350-£400 a tonne,” he said.
Environmental Services Association director general Barry Dennis told viewers it was up to a local authorities which system they chose to use.
He said: “ESA members are not part of a waste management industry anymore; we are part of a resource management industry – which is part of the global market.
“Our members are extracting the value from the recyclable materials that they collect on behalf of councils so that they are not lost in landfill, as they were only a few years ago. “
Mr Pickles urged councils to use incentives to encourage recycling, rather than impose fines on those who fail to do so, and reiterated his support for weekly collections.
“Some things are very smelly and just think what it can like in summer if you have stuff around for two or three weeks,” he said.