Backing weekly waste collections could have a “detrimental effect” on recycling rates, industry insiders have warned.
Following the announcement from local government secretary Eric Pickles that £250m will help pay for local authorities to revert to weekly waste collections, Organics recycler Countrystyle Group planning, estates & licensing manager Charlie Trousdell said: “What is he interfering for and what is this obsession? Surely if you have a weekly collection of organics, which is the smelly stuff, then the rest of it can easily be collected alternate weekly”.
Pickles’ asserted that technologies such as mechanical biological treatment (MBT) should be developed because it avoids the need for numerous bins.
Trousdell comments: “MBT definitely has a place in the waste hierarchy, particularly in the dense urban population but its placing that resulting product to land [which is the problem]. The only outlet for fertilizer from this process is for restoration or non-agricultural land.
“Source separated organics can [be used for agricultural applications].”
British Glass head of container affairs Rebecca Cocking told MRW she would urge local authorities going back to weekly collections not to include glass.
Cocking fears that, with waste management solutions such as MBT and MRFs, a large amount of glass will be lost to aggregate with less going for remelt.
“When I heard Pickles talking about technologies lilke MBT my immediate thought was that glass only fits into MBT if you want to send it to aggregate
“If we all go down the same route of one bin collected once-a-week, we’ll make the aggregate situation worse because it’s not great at the moment, due to the downturn in the construction industry
“I would strongly advocate local authorities not to collect glass if they’re sending their waste to an MBT plant. And to sort the commingled waste, because even the most sophisticated MRFs cannot send 100% of the glass to remelt.”
However recovered paper reprocessors did not feel the move to weekly collections would have too much of an impact.
Confederation of Paper Industries Stuart Pohler said: “In terms of alternate weekly collection systems they tend to lend themselves to commingled collection system. This is due to perception, because there is a greater capacity in terms of containers. Weekly usually has a source segregated system, so in a sense the announcement is semi-welcomed by the CPI.”
Aylesford Newsprint head of recycling Andrew Perkins added: “My view is that the collection of recyclable material is a specialist field and the right people to decide on how to do it are the collectors and local authorities. It is not helpful to have a central approach imposed.
“The £250m might be better spent on marketing to educate to the public on what they can recycle.”