Switching to commingled collections does significantly increase recycling tonnages, according to Greenstar UK.
The recycling firm discovered an average 78 per cent improvement in recycling tonnages across five local authorities which have switched to commingled collections. One local authority increased its tonnages by 190 per cent.
Chief executive Ian Wakelin said: Greenstar collects recyclables from around 1.2 million homes, many of which have converted from a kerbside-sort to a single stream system. Our factual evidence is impeccable and rather demolishes the Waste and Resources Action Programmes position. Any double digit improvement in collected weight would be significant and an improvement averaging 78 per cent is massively significant.
Wakelin is responding to WRAP director of local government services Phillip Wards comments in MRW that a recent analysis of different collection systems shows no statistically significant difference in the weight of materials collected via kerbside sort and commingled collections. (See 14 Aug issue)
Verdant, Greenstars municipal services subsidiary, designed and launched fortnightly commingled collections for Stratford upon Avon and South Oxfordshire. It also launched a single stream commingled service in Blackburn with Darwen and piloted the service with Waltham Forest. All of these local authorities apart from Waltham Forest collect mixed dry recyclables in single wheeled bins, collected fortnightly.
Stratford upon Avon saw an improvement of 81 per cent, using the commingled collections. Dry recycling collections rose from 7,773 tonnes collected from April 2007 to March 2008, to 14,055 tonnes collected from August 2008 and March 2009. South Oxfordshire saw its collection tonnage rise by 40 per cent.
Greenstar believes commingled collections are easier for householders to understand and use, while collection crews find them more efficient and safer. Improving technology in materials recycling facilities has enabled commingled recyclables to become marketable, quality recyclates, the company states.
Although the reject rate for commingled recyclates can sometimes be slightly higher than that for source-separated recyclables, Wakelin believes it is worth it for the substantial increase in volumes collected.