Separated collections could save Welsh councils over a million pounds a year

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Verpackungsabfälle (Foto: Harald Heinritz / abfallbild.de)

Banbury, UK — A new report from WRAP Cymru shows that source separated kerbside collections offers the most cost effective approach to achieving high recycling rates. Commissioned by the Welsh Government, the report, „Harmonised Recycling Collections Costs Project: Phase One“ compares the cost of alternative approaches to the collection of recycling. Comparing source separated kerbside collections to co-mingled and two stream collections.

The research assumed that weekly food waste collections and restrictions on the amount of residual waste collected are needed, as outlined in the Collections Blueprint, for authorities to meet the ambitious Welsh recycling targets. However, by switching from a comingled to a source separated collection system, the research found that the annual savings achievable by authorities were in the region of between £900,000 and £1,200,000, depending on the rurality of the authority. And savings between £1,000,000 and £1,300,000 are potentially achievable when switching from a twin stream collection to a source separated collection.

Although source separated collections require the greatest initial outlay for councils with no existing infrastructure, the payback time for all authority types is under two years. It also offers the greatest annual savings, where post collection sorting costs were much lower and material income greater than for other collection methods.

Wales has already seen the majority of councils move to a source separated collection system, and last year achieved a recycling rate over 60 per cent. The Welsh Government’s preferred method for the collection of waste is detailed in the ‘Collections Blueprint’. An independent review of Collections Blueprint, conducted in March 2016 found it continues to offer clear benefits in terms of cost and material quality as well as its impact on recycling performance.

Carl Nichols, Head of WRAP Cymru, underlined: “Whilst it must be noted that it may not be feasible for every authority to make the same savings, our report shows that the potential overall annual savings of adopting the source separated collection method are significant, and that the initial outlay of switching over can be recouped within two years.”

WRAP Cymru is grant funded by the Welsh Government to encourage behaviour change across Wales, to reduce the amount of waste produced and use resources in an efficient way, in order to meet the Welsh Government’s ambitious target of being a zero waste nation by 2050.

The full Phase One report can be found under wrapcymru.org.uk.

Source: Waste Action & Resources Programme (WRAP)