Claims that deceptive market conditions skewed a recycling collection report to favour kerbside sort schemes have been made by a recycling and waste management company.
Greenstar UK chief executive Ian Wakelin said he found the conclusion of the Waste & Resources Action Programmes (WRAP) report (MRW, June 16) difficult to understand.
The research has been done at a time when commodity prices are at an all-time high. Materials recycling facility (MRF) gate fees have also been historically high due to a lack of MRF capacity. These two factors sway the result in favour of kerbside sort, he said.
We know that this was a difficult and complex exercise to undertake as there are so many variables to consider. [But] we believe the use of a £28 per tonne gate fee for single stream with glass, and a £21 gate fee for loads without glass, is completely wrong. These fees do not reflect current levels which are substantially less, and which will, in all probability, continue to fall as more MRF capacity comes on stream. This would make the three collection systems much more comparable.
Single stream collections do increase the quantity of material recycled. That is the evidence we have seen from both domestic and commercial collections. This would yield a landfill saving which does not appear to be reflected in the cost comparisons.
If single stream collection is apparently so much more expensive, why have a third of English local councils opted for this system? Greenstar uses both systems across its 24 local authority contracts and our experience tells us that commingled collection can be as cost effective as other models.
Image:Greenstar UK chief executive Ian Wakelin