Kerbside recycling

Yes, I know I go on about it but:

New European regulations, currently going through Parliament, call for “separate waste collection”.

The powerful group is seeking a judicial review to force the Government to implement a more strict interpretation of the rules so that all councils introduce separate waste collections.

The government has interpreted this as an order to simply separate recycling from rubbish that needs to go to landfill, which most councils already do.

They say the true interpretation of the ‘separate collections’ must mean recycling is separated into different streams such as paper and card, tin and plastic, before it is taken to the processor.

However the Campaign for Real Recycling, that includes paper mills, aluminium giant Novelis and plastic recycling plants, claims this is wrong.

So, the people who make money from recycling are insisting that more of the costs of recycling must be put on your and my shoulders rather than theirs.

Mal Williams, the chair of the CRR, said it is in Britain’s interest to bring in separate waste collections as it produces better quality material for recycling.

Up to a quarter of ‘co-mingled waste’ where different streams of recycling are put in the same bag and processed later at a ‘materials recycling facility’ or MRF has to be dumped in landfill because it is such bad quality. Much of the mixed up waste has to go to China or other developing countries to be processed because it is too expensive to do it in Britain.

He said tax payers would save millions of pounds by sorting waste themselves, save energy and support a thriving recycling industry at home that provides a steady stream of high quality materials.

\”Legal advice we have received suggests that we have a very strong chance of success,” he added.

Friends of the Earth, who support the campaign, say separate collections will help to tackle climate change because less energy is wasted.

Ah, no, you see? They are not including the costs of sorting, are they?

How much time does it take to sort such waste into the required and acceptable different piles?

Sadly, there\’s only one person who seems to have done this calculation for the UK. And that\’s me. Our government, the EU, FoE, the CRR, none of them have even taken note of, let alone calculated, the costs in time to the households themselves in sorting domestic waste for recycling. And my calculations show that that cost is greater than the entire costs of the waste disposal system as a whole.

You can, of course, read the full story in this little book:

7 thoughts on “Kerbside recycling”

  1. And despite that, our local district council changed over about 6 months ago from having separation between metals, glass, plastic, and paper (with card going in with the compostables) into now putting metals, glass, plastic, and card mixed into the one bin, with only paper separate. Joined up government at its finest.

  2. How did you do the calculation (I was discussing this with Brent Council but lacked figures)? The only survey I’ve seen, the Seattle one, showed that people were willing to pay to have a reccyling facility, which suggests they gain utility from it, which buggered up my argument against Brent.

    Tim adds: Well, read the book….

  3. I guess on the same principle, taxpayers could save millions of pounds by turning up at Government buildings for an hour or so each day, and cleaning our lords and masters’ offices for no pay.

    Come on, people, we’re all in this together you know.

  4. Friends of the Earth, who support the campaign, say separate collections will help to tackle climate change because less energy is wasted.

    Is there any real proof that recycling actually saves energy, with all the shipping off the China and such ? And even with kerbside collections, is this still saving energy ? Does the entire energy costs of recycling, including transport, actually result in a net decrease in energy use ?

    Someone must have done some calculations.

  5. Pingback: Those Recycling Blues. And Greens, And Pinks…. | Orphans of Liberty

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