Recycling of plas­tics fall­ing be­hind oth­ers

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Oliv­erClayRWWN

RECYCLERS in Hal­ton are be­ing given a poor ser­vice com­pared to other ar­eas ac­cord­ing to data gath­ered by the BBC.

It found that the bor­ough sends just four types of plas­tic to be re­pro­cessed whereas many oth­ers will deal with up to 15 va­ri­eties.

This placed Hal­ton in the worst-per­form­ing bot­tom band of recycling coun­cil ar­eas.

The data was col­lected from the Gov­ern­ment­funded Re­cy­cle Now na­tional cam­paign.

It said Hal­ton will re­cy­cle the fol­low­ing types of plas­tic bot­tles: cleaner and de­ter­gent, milk, drinks, and toi­letries and sham­poo.

This means it is lag­ging be­hind other ar­eas where plas­tic bags, food pouches, yo­ghurt pots, plant pots, poly­styrene pack­ag­ing and food tubs and trays will be col­lected to be re­pro­cessed for re-use.

Sta­tis­tics pub­lished by the Depart­ment For En­vi­ron­ment, Food And Ru­ral Af­fairs, last De­cem­ber in­di­cated that 45% of the bor­ough’s rub­bish in 2016-17 was re­cy­cled or com­posted, while 46% was sent for incin­er­a­tion in en­er­gyfrom-waste plants, and just un­der 9% went to land­fill.

Hal­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil has now said the range of res­i­dents’ waste that can be re­cy­cled is limited be­cause Hal­ton’s rub­bish is dealt with as part of a con­tract between Hal­ton and the other five Liver­pool City Re­gion coun­cils and the Mersey­side Recycling And Waste Au­thor­ity (MRWA), and that it would cost too much to ex­pand the level of ser­vice for a low amount of gain in terms of recycling amounts, that the ben­e­fit would be ‘dis­pro­por­tion­ately low’.

In ad­di­tion, the lo­cal au­thor­ity has said that widen­ing the ma­te­ri­als range would risk con­tam­i­nat­ing the main types of re­cy­clable plas­tic

A Hal­ton Coun­cil spokesman said: “The ma­te­ri­als that are col­lected via the coun­cil’s recycling col­lec­tion ser­vices are de­liv­ered to a ma­te­ri­als recycling fa­cil­ity (MRF).

“This ar­range­ment is in place as a re­sult of the coun­cil’s part­ner­ship with the MRWA, which is con­tracted on be­half of the coun­cils in Mersey­side and Hal­ton with its con­trac­tor Ve­o­lia, for the sort­ing and pro­cess­ing of co-min­gled, kerb­side col­lected dry re­cy­clates at two MRFs on Mersey­side – one at Bid­ston on the Wir­ral and one at Gill­moss in Liver­pool.

“The MRFs ac­cept and sort a wide range of spec­i­fied dry re­cy­clates from the co-min­gled stream, which are then sep­a­rated at the fa­cil­ity into their com­po­nent parts for dis­tri­bu­tion to end re­pro­cess­ing mar­kets.

“Pots, tubs and trays, and bags and film are not cur­rently ac­cepted in col­lec­tions in Hal­ton and sorted at the MRFs for the fol­low­ing rea­sons.

“The cost of in­vest­ment in the MRF tech­nol­ogy nec­es­sary to sep­a­rate th­ese plas­tics, com­bined with the lack of any eco­nom­i­cally vi­able end mar­kets ren­ders the sep­a­ra­tion of pots, tubs, trays and bags and film un­eco­nom­i­cal at this time.

“The to­tal quan­tity of rigid plas­tics, which in­cludes pots, tubs and trays, and bags and film in the kerb­side resid­ual bins is con­sid­ered rel­a­tively low in re­la­tion to other ma­te­ri­als: just ● over 5% of the to­tal resid­ual bin, based on the most re­cent kerb­side waste com­po­si­tion anal­y­sis.

“The po­ten­tial im­prove­ment in recycling rates if th­ese ma­te­ri­als could be sorted would there­fore be con­sid­ered to be dis­pro­por­tion­ately low com­pared to the nec­es­sary in­vest­ment in the sep­a­ra­tion tech­nol­ogy re­quired, and com­pared to the cost and ben­e­fit of pri­ori­tis­ing fur­ther col­lec­tion in­vest­ment on other ma­te­ri­als.

“Fur­ther, and given the low value na­ture of rigid plas­tics, in­tro­duc­ing such a col­lec­tion would place ad­di­tional risk of con­tam­i­na­tion to the higher value fi­bre out­puts from the MRFs such as pa­per and card­board which must reach par­tic­u­larly high qual­ity spec­i­fi­ca­tions to en­ter the recycling mar­ket.”

Hal­ton only re­cyl­ces four kids of plas­tic com­pared with 15 in some ar­eas

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