The quality of curbside recyclables and their management options
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The quality of curbside recyclables and their management options....

The quality of curbside recyclables and their management options.

Presented by Adam Read, Waste Management & Resource Efficiency Practice Director.

Presented at the Air & Waste Management Association’s 105th Annual Conference & Exhibition, San Antonio, June 19-22, 2012.

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  • 1. THE QUALITY OF CURBSIDE RECYCLABLES AND THEIR MANAGEMENT OPTIONSDr Adam Read – Practice DirectorWaste Management & Resource Efficiency, AEAAWMA 2012 A world leading19th – 22nd June energy and climate change consultancySan Antonio, Texas
  • 2. An Overview …. In 20 minutes ….. + Personal Welcome + Introduction to the topic + What is quality? + Who is responsible? + What are the issues? + How to measure the extent of the problem? + How to overcome these issues? + Lessons from the UK 2
  • 3. A personal welcome + Adam Read - Practice Director @ AEA for Waste Management - 18 years of operational expertise in recycling service design, roll-out and monitoring - Staff of > 75 consultants (UK and US) + Role on the project - Project Director + Acknowledgements - Dr Nia Owen: lead author & MRF and recyclate quality specialist - AEA for their support in allowing me to be here today 3
  • 4. My sponsor …. 4
  • 5. Our US sponsors + We are here exhibiting with ERG - we acquired them in 2010 + Come and see us on Booth #118 - ERG and AEA Technology Group + Franklin Associates (ERG division) - extensive experience in all aspects of solid waste management (over 30 years of practice) - integrated solid waste master plans - full life cycle analyses of solid waste - waste stream evaluations for local, regional, state, and national agencies 5
  • 6. Introduction 6
  • 7. The Context + Landfill disposal cost is increasing each year - Landfill tax alone is increasing by £8 per tonne - Currently £64/ tonne + Recycling targets set by Devolved Administrations in the UK - England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland o as well as EU targets - Theme = maximise capture of recyclables from MSW + Focus has been predominantly on quantity: - 70% target for Scotland by 2020 - 70% target for Wales by 2025 - EU Waste Framework Directive requires 50% recycling 2025 AND 75% reduction on 1995 levels of BMW going to landfill by 2020 + These are driving local authorities to introduce recycling services….. Usually heavy materials included! 7
  • 8. Security of markets is key … + Increasing tonnage collected and lack of UK [processing capacity + UK is heavily reliant on the export market – particularly China Paper + BUT Chinese market is expected to decline in a few years - They are producing their own recyclate from middle classes in China + Producing quality recyclate will be key to securing long term markets Plastic 8
  • 9. Export of poor quality materials… 9
  • 10. What is Quality? 10
  • 11. What do we mean by Quality... + Material that meets a defined standard + Materials in a form that an end market (reprocessor) is prepared to accept, at a price that is more advantageous then alternative material sources + Materials that an end market accepts but whose processing costs do not exceed the income from the material + Focus in the UK has traditionally been on quantity rather than quality!! - BUT under current economic conditions Quality materials will always sell! - This is now a growing concern for local authorities…. 11
  • 12. What do we mean by Quality... + This doesn’t mean that we always have to produce this… 12
  • 13. What do we mean by Quality... + Or this….. 13
  • 14. What do we mean by Quality... + Sometimes this is fine …. + The market ultimately decides what its prepared to accept! 14
  • 15. Good quality? 15
  • 16. Bad Quality?16 Bad quality?
  • 17. Poor quality? 17
  • 18. Who is responsible? 18
  • 19. The Quality Supply Chain Householder Collection Crew Local Authority MRF Reprocessor 19
  • 20. Quality Supply Chain Householder Collection Crew Local Authority MRF Reprocessor 20
  • 21. Quality Supply Chain Householder Collection Crew Local Authority MRF Reprocessor 21
  • 22. Quality Supply Chain Local Authority 22
  • 23. Quality … + Consistently delivering materials to the marketplace that are - effectively separated to meet customer requirements - compliant with national regulations and policies…. - at a cost that is acceptable 23
  • 24. MRFs can perform miracles! 24
  • 25. 25
  • 26. Time is money! 26
  • 27. MRFs often blamed for poor quality…. + BUT “Rubbish in = Rubbish out” + MRFs are part of a manufacturing process - From collection to reprocessor and back into consumption! ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE 27
  • 28. What are the issues? 28
  • 29. Impacts on quality + Non Target Materials (NTMs) - Materials not accepted by MRF + Residues - Wastes that find their way into the recycling stream (by accident) + Weather - Changes composition of material streams - Wet paper is not as acceptable as dry! + Behaviour - People choose to present NTMs - People choose not to keep things dry - People aren’t aware of what goes where 29
  • 30. Reasons for Contamination + Limited range of materials collected in recycling scheme + Poor communications (confusion @ the kerb) + Language barriers (don’t understand the messages) + Lack of support for elderly / disabled (scheme fails) + Lack of facilities for flats (all in 1 bin!) + Poor service provision (can’t expect a poor design to deliver) + Lack of understanding by collection crew (collect anything) + Lack of enforcement @ the kerbside (no feedback to residents) + No monitoring (no data…. no idea!) 30
  • 31. Reported levels of NTMs + Ceredigion – 12.7% + LB Wandsworth – 8.2% + Northumberland County – 30% + Lichfield DC – 16.2% + Commonly reported NTMs: - Food contaminated materials - Plastic bags - Glass - Tetrapak - Wet paper 31
  • 32. How to measure the extent of the problem 32
  • 33. How do we measure it...+ Two ways of measuring input quality: - Composition analysis of loads collected @ kerbside - % of bins set out containing NTMs+ Quality measured using one of these - but the results are markedly different 33
  • 34. How do we measure it... + Composition analysis - % by weight of NTMs: - doesn’t tell you if this is caused by a small number of people grossly misusing the scheme - or a large number of people getting it a bit wrong... 34
  • 35. How do we measure it... + % of bins set out will provide information on the spread of any NTM issues - But only top of bins can be seen when monitoring... - No idea how much / how significant the problem is! + Need to use both measures…. and with some frequency….. 35
  • 36. How do we overcome the issues? 36
  • 37. Scheme Design + Container Type: - Open bins / boxes can be compromised via littering from passers by - Lids can be used to minimise this + Provision of free recycling bags but not residual bags - Encourages misuse of the recycling system - Think carefully about ‘unexpected consequences’ + Use of transparent containers - Enables NTMs to be easily identified - South Holland District council switched from a box to transparent bag and reported a decline in NTMs 37
  • 38. Scheme Design + Border effects: - Impact of neighbouring authorities scheme - Friends and relatives are recycling yoghurt pots ‘so I can to!’ + Residual waste collection frequency: - Switch to fortnightly residual waste collection… - Misuse of recycling system – needs careful monitoring & feedback + Range of materials collected: - Central Bedfordshire added plastic packaging, foil and waxed cartons to kerbside scheme and NTMs decreased from 7.8% to 1.4% - Stratford upon Avon Council added plastic packaging and foil @ kerbside and NTMs decreased from 4.5% to 1.9% 38
  • 39. Operations + Crew training works! - Recognition of TMs & NTMs - Effective engaging with householders + Great Yarmouth - Decreased NTMs from 12.5% to 6.9% + East Hampshire - Decreased NTMs from 8.8% to 5% + LB Lewisham - Decreased NTMs from 22% to 13% 39
  • 40. Communications + Range of approaches available: - Door to door / Leafleting / Roadshows/ Radio advertising etc. + Durham County Council’s ‘Kerb-it’ campaign: - Adverts / leaflets/ roadshows/ door to door - NTMs decreased from 11.5% to 5.8% in areas of high student population + Kingston upon Thames - Recycling advisors visited persistent offenders - NTMs decreased from 9.8% to 6.8%. + Craigavon Borough Council - Introduced AWC but NTMs in recycling collections increased significantly (local confusion) - Bin inspectors visited offenders - NTMs decreased from 17% to 8.5% 40
  • 41. What’s most effective? + Increase range of materials collected by the kerbside scheme - BUT can the MRF accept them... + Crew training – recognition of NTMs - Work on crews in turn and publish results to encourage others of the benefits - Need to have a parallel strong policy on ‘lids down’ and contaminated bins left etc.. + Communications - Will underpin any new scheme initiative – new materials, change of days etc.. - Must be focused on areas with specific problems - Must provide positive feedback on improvements! 41
  • 42. Conclusions 42
  • 43. Conclusions + Monitoring quality @ all stages in the collection and treatment system is vital + Sending rubbish to a reprocessor only costs you money! + Good data on contamination ‘pockets’ or specific materials will allow targeted communications campaigns - more effective than blanket campaigns! + Work with your contractors (crew engagement is key) + Think about your residents (they don’t want to contaminate) - Help them adjust - Help them understand + Keep challenging your collection system – every little helps! 43
  • 44. Lessons for the US + Curbside recycling has its limits + International commodity markets will impact on material prices + Think about future scheme expansion & improvements – what is key? + Communications budgets are under- funded and under-utilised + Crew training is vital + Working with your MRF / reprocessors @ the outset will ensure everyone understands the materials specification 44
  • 45. Thank you! 46
  • 46. Come and see us …. Booth #118 Adam Read Shelly Schneider Practice Director - AEA Franklin Associates (ERG) Waste Management & Resource Waste Management & Resource Efficiency Efficiency cell: 0044 7968 707 239 tel: 913-800-8276 email: adam.read@aeat.co.uk email: Shelly.Schneider@erg.com web: www.aeat.co.uk web: www.aeat.co.uk