You might be looking at the wrong end of the process, Nick. Imagine a world where packaging came with simple colour-coded symbols (traffic lights) to indicate 'recyclability'. Would that influence your buying and cut the amount of poor-quality secondary materials you throw away? Something similar is used for energy ratings on fridges. How often do you see a fridge with a B rating these days? Manufacturers were too embarrassed to put anything less than As on the market.
Packaging could also carry numbers matching numbers on your bin so you would know which piece of packaging goes where.
All the above requires buy-in from the waste producers, not the hard-pressed waste collectors. And way better design. Design locks in waste before the products even hit the shelves.
Comment on: Revealed: MRF code of practice details
From: Vikki Jackson Smith, Managing Director J & B Recycling, Hartlepool (added by MRW's associate editor)
Defra’s plans for a Code of Practice for Materials Recycling Facilities should be welcomed – but with caution.
As a MRF operator, we have no problem selling our outputs including paper from sorting of comingled inputs as we prefer glass to be keep separate as an input. If the infrastructure is right, then inputs suit your process and you strive to strike the right balance between productivity, quality and value.
Re-processors have a major part to play too. When markets are buoyant and prices are high then there’s a tendency for quality to be ignored. But when values are low, quality is key. When market conditions are favourable and re-processors are scrambling for material, they should have the courage of conviction not to buy poor quality material, thereby helping to deter less reputable operators.
Therefore, on balance, the Code of Practice can be welcomed as long as it leads to a level playing field and should certainly be introduced as a compulsory measure for all including the third sector.
But again, it’s yet another hit on already tight margins as major costs such as insurance, electricity and fuel continue to rise, particularly for SME operators such as ourselves who don’t have the resources of the multinationals.
Comment on: Crushing victory
Letter to MRW:
I am writing to support the comments made by Michael Deeney. The use of crushers however appealing because of space saving does not assist the UK in meeting its proposed glass remelt targets.
I would also like to point out that the glass arising from these venues if collected appropriately yield very good quality glass as they tend not to be mixed with non glass.
Rebecca Cocking, Head of Container Affairs, British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation
Comment on: Crushing victory
Letter to MRW from: Michael Deeney, General Manager, Glassdon
Unfortunately the article does not tell the whole story. Whilst this might seem a good idea and indeed it will save space within the pub or hotel etc. The difficulty is that these glass crushers by their very nature, crush the glass to the extent that over 75% of the glass particles are smaller than 10mm in size. This renders the glass worthless in terms of it being recyclable for re-use in glass manufacture, and does not actually reduce the weight of material to be disposed of! Businesses that purchase these crushers will find that glass recyclers will not accept this material and they will have no option but to landfill the material!
Glass recycling companies like ourselves are working hard to maximise the volume of glass that is collected and recycled back into “re-melt” glass, which is used to make new glass bottles and jars, and reduce the amount going to landfill. However; we need the glass to be bigger than 10mm in size in order for the current technology to be able to sort it by colour and ensure that there is no ceramic contamination in the processed glass. The volume of glass going back into re-melt has been declining over the years and collection methods that crush the glass are partly the reason for this decline.
We would suggest that this topic should be researched in greater depth and the whole story reported in order that potential buyers of these crushers are fully informed.