WRAP has published a guide to help local authorities to extract more value from the waste they collect.
‘Turning Recyclate into Revenue’ is intended to provide councils with advice on how to select the right materials sales strategy for their circumstances.
It said: “Few local authorities can afford not to consider the scope to increase their income streams from the sale of recyclable materials. This guide has set out some key considerations that will help [them] to do so effectively, equipping [them] to evaluate the potential to set materials sales arrangements on a more productive – and ultimately more profitable – footing.”
The document invites councils to examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of decisions such as:
- Operating in partnership with other local authorities;
- Retain ownership of material or transferring it to a waste contractor;
- Setting fixed or variable materials prices.
The guide also includes a section on commingled materials. It notes that those separated at MRFs can be of lower quality than those separated by kerbside sorting, reducing their value and exposing them to market downturns where they become increasingly difficult to sell.
WRAP also pointed out that local authorities looking to enter into long contracts, for example five to ten years, might have to absorb a large share of the risks associated with material quality, composition, quantity and price fluctuation if MRFs are unwilling to do so.