Waste and recycling authorities in the United Kingdom should embrace London’s Environment Strategy if the country wants to meet heightened recycling targets set out in the circular economy package. That’s the view of Germany recycling equipment firm Stadler Engineering, which says it is calling for a new, consistent approach to curbside collections.
Launched in early July, the London Mayor’s Environment Strategy sets out a municipal recycling target of 65 percent by 2030, which will be achieved by taking what Stadler calls “a revolutionary approach to waste collection.” The London document calls for councils in the borough to offer collections for the six main dry recyclable materials, as well as separate bins for food waste.
Already, businesses and individuals have voiced their support for the strategy, recognizing its value in driving greater recycling rates, according to Stadler. The company further states that the entire country should adopt a similar approach (and replicate this separate collection model), to make a national difference.
“We should embrace separate collections nationwide for various fractions of both dry and organic waste,” states Ruben Maistry, sales manager at Stadler Engineering. “Commingling is not a long-term solution. It reduces recyclate quality and is often rife with contamination.
“Reprocessors are demanding ever higher quality, which means that clean, easy to separate, good quality recycling is key,” he continues. “For us, single source recycling collections, uniform across the country, is essential to achieving this, alongside better education for householders, as to what they can and can’t recycle, of course.”
Separate collections are often viewed as an additional cost for local authorities to incur, but Stadler points to regions such as Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland as examples where this practice has been adopted, and widespread financial savings have been achieved.
“Many countries are recouping collection investments elsewhere,” says Maistry. “With lower contamination rates, MRFs [material recovery facilities] can minimize capital equipment costs. What’s more, with U.K. households throwing away more than 7 billion metric tons of food every year, the nation is sitting on a potential energy gold mine through anaerobic digestion. But, if we aren’t collecting this individually, we risk losing out on valuable feedstock.”
Continues Mistry, “London’s Environment Strategy proposes a watertight approach for the capital. We need to replicate this nationwide. It is an opportunity we must not miss.”
Stadler Anlagenbau GmbH, also known as Stadler Engineering, engages in the planning, production and assembly of sorting systems and components for the waste disposal and recycling industry.