Degrees of separation … quality is the key
25th January 2013
Councils and private sector waste management service providers are watching anxiously as the row over whether they should be compelled to collect recyclates separately will be tested in the Courts in late February. The Waste Directive says that Councils must introduce ‘separate’ collections for paper, metal, glass and plastics by 2015. The question is whether this literally means collecting these four materials in four separate receptacles, or whether they can be co-mingled as a mixed stream and separated out later. Can both systems co-exist under the Directive rules, or is co-mingling prohibited? Some Councils are not waiting until the issue is resolved – Devon Waste Partnership has announced the introduction of a co-mingled collection scheme for 40,000 households from June.
The view of many front-line operators is that ultimately what counts is whether the quality of the material meets market needs. If that quality can be met through co-mingled collection, so be it. In some cases separate collection might be necessary, in others it might be simply impractical or too costly to implement. Flexibility combined with cost-effectiveness is the key — bespoke solutions tailored to specific local circumstances. In the waste management industry, an imposed one-size-fits-all solution rarely works to the benefit of the public purse.Tweet