Defra has published its consultation on consistency of collections and said it is “minded” to introduce separate collection of paper and cardboard from other materials.
In a section on Minimum Service Standards for the Separate Collection of Dry Recyclable Materials from Households, it advises that local authorities should consider separate collection of materials first, followed by twin-stream collections and commingled as a last resort for quality purposes.
It added: “Following engagement with the sector and further research, it is understood that
collecting plastics and glass together with paper and card, can lead to a detrimental
impact on the quantity and quality of the recyclable material collected.
“We are minded in statutory guidance to recommend that fibres (paper and card) are kept
separate from all other recyclable waste streams, where practicable. We are seeking
views on whether statutory guidance should advise local authorities and other waste
collectors, to keep materials in the paper and card recyclable waste streams
separate from other recyclable waste streams, where at all possible.
“The separation of fibres is particularly important for retaining the quality of this
material and enabling the recycling of food and drink cartons and plastic film. Plastic
films tend to contaminate other more valuable recyclable materials. Food and drink
cartons, when collected with paper and card, can cause contamination issues
downstream if sorted into the paper stream. UK paper mills typically do not want to
receive laminated materials.”
However, according to these proposals, micro businesses may be exempt from separating their waste materials, or this will be phased in at a later date depending on which option in the consultation is decided upon.
On food and beverage cartons, Defra is suggesting that these should be collected with plastics.
In a previous consultation, Defra has suggested that all local authorities should have the same coloured bins, but it is now suggesting they should change to the same colours when replacing bins or waste contractors. Instead, a bin numbering and sticker system would be introduced first of all.
The consultation can be viewed here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/consistency-in-household-and-business-recycling/