Banking on bring sites to boost paper trails

By mixing it up and combining kerbside collections with a sound bring bank infrastructure, paper recycling rates can shoot up - as one council has shown

South Derbyshire District Council is on track to smash its recycling target for the fourth consecutive year due to a winning combination of kerbside collections and bring bank infrastructure. Back in 2003, its residents were only recycling 17.49%, but this has since increased to over 28% thanks to the expansion of both recycling services.

The council's multi-material kerbside collections are available to 94% of households - the district itself covers 38,200 households. Under the scheme, residents receive an alternate weekly collection - paper, cans, bottles, green waste and textiles one week, and residual household waste the other. Householders have also been encouraged to minimise waste and recycle more through an ongoing programme of school visits, roadshows at local shopping centres and a Cash for Trash campaign.

During this period, Smurfit Kappa Recycling has also worked in partnership with the council to expand and improve the bring bank network where residents can recycle mixed paper. This includes not only newspapers and magazines, but also cardboard, directories, Yellow Pages, envelopes and other fibrous packaging materials.

Following the success of three trial sites in 2003, the facilities have since been expanded to include 64 igloo containers and seven super banks, strategically located at 30 sites across the district including schools, garden centres and supermarkets.

Smurfit collects from the sites at least once, sometimes twice, a week. All of the mixed paper collected is transported directly to Smurfit's paper mill in Birmingham where it is used to make packaging materials.

George Johnson, regional operations manager for Smurfit, says: "The advantages of a mixed paper collection scheme are that it includes all paper-based materials so it is easy for residents to understand. Because we can process it without sending it to a separate sorting facility, we can minimise the environmental footprint of the process."

Tonnages of paper collected through the kerbside schemes have increased from 1,533 tonnes in 2003-4 to 2,422 tonnes in 2006-7. Volumes of mixed paper collected through bring containers has also risen over the same period, from 160 tonnes to 794 tonnes.

Bring bank and kerbside schemes can boost the overall opportunity for collection, as the council's experience with introducing an in-vessel composting scheme has shown. In September 2006, the council began rolling out a new kerbside composting collection scheme that allowed residents to recycle cardboard in their brown bins with their green waste and kitchen waste.

Currently 17,000 households are able to recycle their cardboard in this way - and with no drop off in the volumes of mixed paper collected from the bring banks as a result. By May of this year, all residents will be able to recycle their cardboard this way, as well as at the district's bring banks.

Lorraine Neave, waste management officer for South Derbyshire District Council, says: "Our residents have responded extremely well to the recycling challenge, taking advantage of all the services we've made available. Our policy is to ensure that they are offered a choice of recycling services and bring banks play an important role in that."

Smurfit Kappa Recycling
www.smurfitkappa-recycling.com

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