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Source segregation is best, say paper recyclers

Industry group PaperChain is urging local authorities who are considering waste collection options to opt for source segregated collections over commingled ones. The company blames commingled systems for having a negative impact on quality to the detriment of the long-term sustainability of recovered paper markets. PaperChain spokeswoman Catherine Watson said: Waste coming through the commingled stream is dirtier and degrades the quality of paper. When the paper is being processed through the materials recycling facility (MRF) bits of glass can get stuck within the machine and then it can break down. There are cases at paper mills where machines have to get replaced quite regularly because of this. We would urge local authorities who are on the verge of making a decision on whether to opt for commingled or source segregated collections to consider a segregated scheme. It is not just the paper industry that has problems, the glass and textiles industry face quality issues relating to commingled collections. The Campaign for Real Recycling has also called for local authorities to look to source segregated collections. London Community Recycling Network (London CRN) communications coordinator Hannah Kowszun added: There are pros and cons to commingled recycling. If you separate materials at the source you are less likely to get bits of broken glass intermingled with paper and things like stains on paper that contaminate it, using human power rather than relying on a MRF to do all the work. At London CRN we believe in encouraging and educating people to do something about their use of resources and that you get more support from a person if you ask them to sort out their own waste. Why are local authorities favouring commingled systems? Local authorities are favouring commingled systems because it is more practical for them, easier for their residents and also cheaper.

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