BBC One Show highlights bin collection debate

Waste management industry heavyweights have made an appearance on the BBC's One Show debating over the issue of source segregated and commingled collections.

The BBC One Show’s episode on recycling was screened yesterday evening (29 January) and its presenter questioned why some residents in the UK could recycle in one bin and why some had to separate their recycling in several bins.

Bywaters’ materials recycling facility (MRF) was featured on the programme which screened yesterday evening (29 January). Strategic director David Rumble described the process of sorting recyclates at his MRF. The programme showed how materials get processed at the MRF and baled for reprocessing. Rumble advocated that householders just need one bin to recycle their waste because Bywaters’ ‘super MRF’ can separate most materials.

Closed Loop Recycling marketing manager Nick Cliffe also featured on the show and said he supports a reduction in contamination. He said that at “every point in which you can avoid contamination the better”. Cliffe explained that he would typically pay £150 per tonne for a low quality bale of plastic bottles and around £300-400 per tonne for a “good” quality bale.

Industry body Environmental Services Association also appeared on last night’s show offering an impartial view on the recycling collection debate. The presenter of the programme asked ESA director general Barry Dennis if the householder was “just wasting” their time separating recyclates into different bins when it can be processed at one MRF.

Dennis responded that recyclates collected separately could make the materials “cleaner” and cleaner materials receive more money when sold. He advocated that recyclates were a commodity and that the industry was no longer a waste management one but a resource management industry.

The presenter of the show concluded: “It seems to me that this debate is more about money than it is about quality because with the right investment a machine can do the sorting just as well as the householder. And, if we all had one bin then the front garden would be a lot tidier.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles also made an appearance on the programme and was interviewed by presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker.  He praised the Green Reedem scheme run by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for helping residents to gain rewards for recycling.  He also said that it was easier to recycle in one bin and maintained his stance on promoting his ‘bin bible’ and weekly bin collections.

Elsewhere, earlier in the week (27 January) waste management firm Biffa appeared on BBC2’s Food & Drink programme. It featured on a segment looking at food waste.

Broadcaster Sheila Dillon joined Biffa collection crews at work in South Oxfordshire, seeing at first-hand how much food is discarded by householders, and what happens when food is recycled.

In a studio discussion with hosts Michel Roux Jnr and Kate Goodman, plus guest Mary Berry, Dillon suggests that increasing the price of food may make us value it more.

Liz Gyekye




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