Waste recycling kerbside sort is best

In December 2016, WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Plan, a government body, produced their “Harmonised Recycling Collections Costs Project”, for three areas in Wales, an Urban Authority, a Rural Authority and a Valley Authority. This showed that the kerbside sort system gave better value compared to co-mingled, by virtue of the cost of vehicles being lower cost, the higher quality of the recycled material, and the separation of the recyclables being done for no cost by the public (WRAP, 2016). While the original investment was higher for kerbside sort, this was paid back in 18 months and subsequently gave savings of £1m per annum for areas containing 60,000 households. In a subsidiary part of the study, they found that recyclable material collected separately from glass bottles attracted a £10 per tonne premium.

Aberdeen is collecting glass along with the other recyclables, risking contamination and thereby lower material market prices. If recyclable material quality is good, there is usually a market for it. If poor, the market price is either low or non-existent; it is then only fit to be burnt.

The report demonstrated that a good kerbside recycling system offered substantial savings in overall council costs compared to a co-mingled system, the one Aberdeen has just discarded.