Quality paper output can be produced from state-of-the-art materials recycling facilities (MRF), the Waste & Resources Action Programmes (WRAP) two-year study into MRFs has found.
At an event to discuss its findings with industry stakeholders, WRAP products sector manager Gerrard Fisher said its findings revealed state-of-the-art MRFs could produce paper to compete with that from source segregated streams.
Paper collected in commingled collections and processed through a MRF is generally thought to be of too poor a quality to use in mills - although this is not the case of all MRFs. Aylesford Newsprint commercial manager Chris White, who attended the event, told the audience that mills do take paper from MRFs and their output quality was improving, although this was only in the latest MRFs, that operated under-capacity.
Techniques to recover glass that has been processed through a MRF for use as remelt cullet, were also found to be successful. But this was only demonstrated at full scale on a small quantity. Fisher said further trials were needed to confirm the yields and economics. However, early indications suggested that splitting the two output streams into remelt and aggregate, may be a solution.
WRAPs focus on quality follows its MRF conference held in 2006, where quality was flagged up as a key industry concern. The work done since then has looked at separation technology, quality management, materials analysis and contractual guidance - which has just been released.
Chief executive Liz Goodwin said its MRF work was there to shape thinking and encourage debate and said the organisation welcomed feedback.
I believe MRFs are going to have an important part to play in recycling as we go forward, Goodwin said. But with much work still to be done on MRFs and quality, she added, remember, this is a journey.
Information from the event, including the contractual guidance, will be available on the WRAP website: www.wrap.org.uk