Axion argues that, by setting up co-mingled collections, councils can reduce costs and improve their kerbside recycling rates by increasing capture of dry recyclables.
Local authorities are under enormous pressure to cut waste budgets; the cost of collecting recyclable materials is a key area that can be targeted for improvement.
For homeowners, separate collection boxes for recyclable materials are too high maintenance. Whilst supplying up to six boxes for different waste products ensures that materials are well-sorted, many householders find the schemes too complex and time-consuming.
Yields are low and the schemes are too expensive to continue operating. Co-mingled collections offer a cost-effective alternative; householders find it much easier to dispose of waste with just two bins – one for recyclables and the other for residual waste.
A consistent approach to co-mingled collections could result in the recovery of more waste materials for reprocessing. It has proven to increase the capture rate and the mass yield of materials for the next automated process stages in the recycling system.
However, to guarantee that the scheme is effective, local authorities must take responsibility for ensuring that the materials are directed to adequate Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), equipped with quality sorting and separation technologies.
For co-mingled collections to be successful throughout the UK, there needs to be plenty of MRFs, which adhere to the MRF Code of Practice, to handle the increased volumes of collections in each locality.
Local authorities must ensure that each receiving MRF is able to achieve the correct levels of separation from their co-mingled waste stream. This should result in high-yield and well-separated materials, which can be delivered into the recycling sector.