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MRF key to improving real recycling rates

If truth and reality are accepted using existing norms true recycling rates could flatline in 2012 and 2013.

If truth and reality are accepted using existing norms true recycling rates could flatline in 2012 and 2013.

When recyclate prices were high in 2011 all parties were driven forward on a strong wind and contamination and fines were effectively ignored.

But reality hit hard in 2012 in both the public and private sectors and we all have had to address the issues or go home. I believe the corrected norm of 5% contamination/fines became 18%+ by the end of 2012 and this is how we started 2013. There will be those that wish to ignore the facts but if the new Defra MRF rules are implemented later this year and the sampling is effectively standardised there will be no hiding place for delivering excessive fines/contamination to a MRF.

How do we go forwards?

For the future all collected materials should go through a recovery process using a clean MRF for commingled collections and a dirty MRF for residual waste. In addition all food waste should be collected separately. Providing materials collected have been passed through a vetted and effective system the non-discretely-recoverable ‘outfall’ from each system could be consigned to energy from waste/cement kilns and this should be considered to be an effective form of recycling.

Apart from the energy from waste possibility this prescription would greatly increase recycling rates - for the existing range of accepted materials - at a stroke, once the facilities are available.

There should be very generous tax breaks and a 90% reduction in business rates for plants designed to the highest standards internally and externally.

John S Glover, Managing Director, Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd.


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