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Feature: Board of trade

Paper and cardboard collections from trade waste could not only play a significant role in counting against Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) targets but also be an income generator for local authorities.

A new report from environmental consultancy Enviros aims to develop the opportunity that trade waste recycling presents by establishing best practice guidance. In turn, the guidance aims to identify the main considerations that need to be taken into account when implementing a trade waste recycling scheme.

According to Best Practice Guidance: Trade Waste Recycling, only eight London boroughs currently offer a trade waste recycling service, collecting single materials or combinations of paper, cans, glass and plastics. "The City of Westminster has a sophisticated trade waste collection and recycling scheme set up, offering a range of collection products and services," the report states. "Several boroughs promote their services by offering to collect some trade waste (paper and glass) for recycling at a reduced rate. Southwark offers a trade waste recycling scheme at a reduced rate, collecting recyclables at 40% less that the cost of collections for normal waste."

The report explains that LATS is a key driver for developing trade waste recycling. Trade waste counts against an authority's LATS targets so recycling and composting biodegradable trade waste can lead to an increase in recycling and meeting LATS targets. The report notes: "Expanding or developing existing collection rounds and arrangements is likely to be the most cost-effective approach, possibly linking the collection of materials from bring banks to the collection of, for example,

card from commercial premises."

Despite this, the report stresses that the collection of recyclable and compostable waste is only beneficial if there is a market for it, although the majority of reprocessors that serve London have the capacity to take additional amounts of material.

Collecting and recycling trade waste can generate income where some of the cost of recycling can be covered or even subsidised by charges for collection and the provision of containers. This is a significant driver when you bear in mind that in 1998/99, the Environment Agency reported that 4,350,000 tonnes of commercial waste and 2,740,000 of industrial waste were produced in London.

With no sign of these arisings slowing down, the study highlights more than 500,000 tonnes of paper, card and food waste in each of the commercial and industrial waste streams. "Nearly 8% of the co-collected waste stream is recyclable paper and nearly 14% is cardboard boxes," it states. "Diverting these materials to landfill would equate to the equivalent of over 100,000 tonnes as a contribution to London's LATS targets."

The report is produced in what Enviros says is a climate of limited guidance when it comes to trade waste. With plenty of information surrounding household waste recycling and composting, in previous work for the GLA, no guidance on trade waste was found.

The study says that existing guidance for dealing with commercial waste is focussed on prevention, rather than on developing collection schemes. Despite the opportunities, there is a real lack of data or guidance in this area. Subsequently, there is at the moment little incentive for commercial waste collection companies to offer competitive collections for recyclable waste.

But with trade waste on the increase some hope can be found in terms of policy with the Mayor's Municipal Waste Strategy. Policy 2 identifie

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