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Commingling: Yes - The reprocessor

I want to clarify a point I made at the recent Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group event regarding commingled collections, which has been misunderstood by some in the industry and was reported in MRW.

Commingled collections bring in three times more material in comparison with bring sites - kerbside sort is somewhere between the two.

The little amount of kerbside sort for bottles that takes place does not really offer the exceptional quality that people think. Human error by consumers can cause contamination of the waste stream and create issues for reprocessors.

The world has moved on in the two years or so since WRAP’s report on recycling performance was published, which claimed that kerbside sort is better than commingling.

With a well-run MRF, there is consistent material and that is what matters. We now have world-class sorting facilities such as the Southwark and Shotton MRFs and Veolia’s Rainham facility, which achieve quality levels that are more than acceptable for reprocessors.

But we do need more such facilities, and this is what we believe will come out of Defra’s proposed MRF code of practice.

I would like to see more uniformity across the industry based on a commingling approach, rather than having several systems as there is now. Only then can effective recycling of all materials take place.

Chris Dow, Closed Loop Recycling


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