Chief executive Ian Wakelin said he was delighted and not surprised with the results from the two-year study into quality and materials recycling facilities (MRFs) released by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) last week. This found that MRFs using state-of-the-art equipment could produce high quality materials, including glass for re-melt and paper for mills.
MRFs have been the subject of criticism, particularly from the glass and paper industries. They argue that commingled material separated by MRFs is not fit for reprocessing, with source segregated or two-stream (paper separated from containers) collections offering best quality.
Wakelin said: The UK MRF infrastructure is developing and it would be a crying shame to say MRFs dont have a role to play. But he added that not all MRFs are the same and he agrees 100% with comments that the UK should build and run MRFs that concentrate on quality.
Greenstar has built a state-of-the-art MRF at Aldridge, near Birmingham, and says that the fact it supplies UK paper mills directly is evidence of the quality MRFs can achieve. Aldridge is currently undergoing commissioning testing and should be fully up and running in the next couple of weeks.
Wakelin argues that the simplicity, fewer vehicles needed, greater speed and availability of modern separating and processing equipment, make commingled collections and MRFs the solution to boosting the UKs household and commercial recycling rates. To support this, Greenstar says it has found commingled collections can improve household recycling volumes by 15% or more and commercial volumes by up to 45%.