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Visitors to Cleanzine’s Facebook page will have seen the story and image we posted after the issue had been broadcast, regarding changes to recycling laws as part of the Waste Framework Directive. For those that didn’t see it, the article warned that we could soon have many more recycling boxes outside our homes than we do now, as the result of a ban on co-mingling – the method currently in place in some councils whereby householders put all of their recycling in the same box to be sorted later by council teams.
I’ve always been an advocate of co-mingling because of the confusion over what items should go into which box… Can this particular type of plastic be recycled?… Is this leaflet able to go in with the paper or should it go in with the cardboard?… Can this glossy coated cardboard go in the recycling box or is it destined for the rubbish bin?…
Contaminated loads are less valuable when it comes to selling on and a lot of money that could swell councils’ coffers is lost as a result. Who better to separate it than experts? Plus the confusion often deters people from recycling altogether as rather than try and work out what goes where, they’ll just dump it in the rubbish bin.
Apparently, co-mingling doesn’t work either because it’s difficult to separate shards of glass from paper, although I’m sure the technology must be available!
I understand that the EU will allow us to separate our waste into four bins - paper, metal, glass and plastic, plus the general rubbish bin, which is a further change for me as at the moment my glass and tins go into the same box and I also have a separate box for cardboard and coloured paper (but not magazines).
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has said that “this does not mean that mixed waste bin collections cannot continue; it is up to local authorities to decide what works best in their local area within the law.”
Confused? So am I…
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31st October 2013