Everyone knows that recycling paper makes sense. But how many people understand the requirements of the schemes they are supporting? Sadly, the answer is few.
The facts are simple: as the months go by, more and more paper is being diverted away from landfill in the UK. Targets are being met and everyone seems happy.
But the truth is far more complex. Turning recovered newspaper into publishing-quality newsprint is a high-tech procedure that, like any industrial process, relies on top-quality raw materials. If the agencies responsible for the collection of recovered newspapers fully understand the manufacturing requirements then they can work to ensure that the optimum level of recycling is achieved.
For this reason, Aylesford Newsprint has produced a comprehensive, easy to understand Quality Specification Datasheet. The specification provides clear information on papers that are suitable for onward supply to the Aylesford Newsprint mill. It explains the condition of paper required, the types of paper that cannot be recycled and the problematic effects that these have on the recycling process and end product.
Aylesford Newsprint's twice-yearly Quality Supplier Awards also focus attention on those that are already consistently achieving good results.
The latest authority to receive the accolade is East Hertfordshire District Council. A supplier to Aylesford since 1994, the council diverted 4,591 tonnes of used newspapers and magazines away from landfill in 2004/05. "The quality of the paper supplied by East Hertfordshire Council is consistently high," says Aylesford Newsprint regional manager Kelly King.
King attributes East Hertfordshire's success to its attention to detail, contractor relationship and understanding of the recycling process: "East Hertfordshire opened its own depot in June 2004, and put a great deal of time and effort into checking and sorting its material.
It also works very closely with its contractor, Enterprise MRS.
"Results as good as these, however, are not restricted to those with their own depot. Good communication between stakeholders, effective storage and regular checks can be the difference between a good supplier and one that only just makes the grade."
Sara Mellor, assistant waste services manager for East Hertfordshire Council, says its success is the result of good teamwork: "Everyone, from the householder through to the collection teams and depot staff, has had a huge part to play
in achieving a consistently high quality of recovered paper."
Information and training at all levels were the key to consistent quality, she says. "We supply the area's householders with comprehensive information sheets on what can and cannot be recycled. It is the same with the collection crews and depot staff - all are trained to pick out any unsuitable materials. We know that to get good prices, we have to supply good quality paper. We treat recycled materials as a commodity and the quality reflects this."
Chris White is commercial manager at Aylesford Newsprint