Sorting plants for household recycling, when materials are collected in one bag or bin, are reporting that the amount of recyclables recovered is remaining static at around the 86% level.
Latest data from the sorting plants, known as materials recycling facilities, shows that in the first quarter of 2017, the material, which comes in commingled from households, had a reject rate of 8%.
The remaining 6% of materials is down to the fact that the sorting plants could not recycled some materials which can be recycled at other plants. This remains a contentious area for local authorities and the recycling sector with a call for greater consistency across the UK in what can be recycled.
For example, some MRFs will collect yogurt pots while others will not and so those that don’t will count the yogurt pots as rejected and they will be burnt for energy or landfilled.
A big problem still remains in the contamination that comes into the MRFs with the average reject rate of 8%, especially taking into account rules on the export of paper and plastics that require contamination to be minimal as a further amount of material does still get caught up in the recycling.
The date on the quantity of target material received by MRFs comes from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, a charity which is supported by government.