The findings from a WYG report published today (April 12) found that 20 out of 30 leading recycling authorities considered co-mingled collections to be more cost-effective and generated higher recycling rates than separating materials out at the kerbside.

The research, which was part funded by Biffa and trade body PlasticsEurope, will further fuel the long-running debate over co-mingled versus source-segregated collection schemes.

WYG analysed WasteDataFlow information submitted to central government by waste authorities for the year 2010/11 to identify the key drivers to the top performing and most improved councils for collecting dry recycling.

Although affluent areas tend to have higher yields of all materials, the findings revealed that that fully co-mingled collections including glass tend to outperform kerbside sorted collections by a similar margin across all levels of affluence.

The council with the highest yield of recycling (at 295kg per household per year) is Surrey Heath, which operates a co-mingled service – collecting nearly 60kg per household per year more than Guildford, the highest performing authority that collects using kerbside sort.

Analysis of the 15 highest improvers for kerbside recycling between 2009/10 and 2010/11 showed that 11 of them moved to fully co-mingled collections that included glass. Findings also highlighted that no authority in the top 30 for kerbside sort recycling collected all materials separately.

Commenting on the findings, WYG project director Len Attrill said: “As has been the case in the two previous years, the highest performing councils in terms of dry recycling are dominated by authorities that collect co-mingled dry recycling.”

Maxine Perella

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