Bramhall, UK – Tighter budgets and the need to increase recycling rates are prompting more UK local authorities to seek expert help to extract more value from the household waste they collect, according to Axion Consulting, a leading resource recovery specialist. Axion, which regularly provides support to local authorities, says demand for its range of waste evaluation services is rising as councils look for innovative ways to improve their waste collection services and potentially increase revenue streams from recyclables.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, explains Liz Morrish, Axion Principal Consultant. Methods include gaining a better understanding of current waste streams via compositional analysis studies and reviewing existing collection services to evaluating how much value is gained from the waste currently being collected and processed. Results from this type of research can then be applied to looking for improvements to sorting and processing facilities so that higher yields are achieved and better quality material recovered.
Rates still need to increase
Local authorities are always trying to extract more value from the waste they are responsible for and this can be achieved by moving waste up the hierarchy. This could be achieved by collecting other materials at the kerbside for recycling, or through energy recovery so that waste is diverted from landfill”, says Liz Morrish. “Many councils have now achieved a good level of recycling, but rates still need to increase to meet EU targets. So the focus is now on what is left in the residual waste stream and what else could be captured from which to gain value; this is becoming increasingly important as budget cuts start to bite.”
Axion has worked with Hampshire County Council and Project Integra focusing on analysing plastic waste collected throughout the county to understand better the types and volume of plastic that could potentially be recycled. This study provided a more detailed breakdown of plastic formats and types and explored the effects that changing collection of plastics would have on recycling rates – such as collecting pots, tubs and trays, as well as identifying end markets for plastic waste.
PTTs and plastic films not being captured
Liz Morrish comments: “The research revealed a significant amount of PTTs and plastic films left in the residual stream that were not being captured for recycling as current collections were bottles only. Including non-bottle plastics will increase the recycling rate, although this would require changes at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to enable a greater volume of material to be sorted and processed.”
In a separate on-going project for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority, Axion is working with Amec Foster Wheeler on compositional analysis of various waste streams, including residual waste, dry recyclables, garden waste and food waste. Due to be completed in March, the data will supply local authorities in the Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership with detailed information about the types of waste generated by householders to help in planning future services.
Liz Morrish concludes: “Our new collaboration with Amec Foster Wheeler enables us to provide local authorities with robust and effective compositional analysis studies for which we foresee growing demand in the future.”
Axion Consulting, part of the Axion Group, develops and evaluates novel resource recovery processes, tests and operates innovative recyclable collection systems as well as offering business planning and financial analysis. More informationcan be found under axionconsulting.co.uk.
Source: Axion Consulting