Germany-based international sorting system specialist, Stadler Engineering, has called for a uniform approach to waste collection and the end of co-mingled recycling if new EU recycling targets are to be met.
The statement comes following the European Parliament’s decision to vote in favour of revised recycling targets for EU countries. In April 2018, MEPs approved new legislation on waste and the circular economy stating that European countries must recycle 55 per cent of all municipal waste by 2025 and 65 per cent by 2035. Additionally, the motion was passed to reduce landfilling to as little as 10 per cent.
Stadler claims that for this to be achievable, responsibility must be assumed at all stages of the waste supply chain. The company suggests that not only should Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) ensure they have the correct equipment to improve recycling output, but a new approach must be taken to waste collections to boost municipal recyclate quality.
Ruben Maistry, sales manager at Stadler Engineering, commented: “Even more challenging and stringent targets mean MRFs throughout the UK and Europe must improve their recycling capability. Without the right equipment, performing at optimum levels, this will not be possible.
“However, the onus shouldn’t just be put on recyclers. Co-mingling of municipal recycling does not bode well for improved recycling rates and without collection uniformity, contamination will remain high.”
The new legislation proposes that all biodegradable household waste must be collected separately or recycled at home through composting by 2024, and household textiles and hazardous waste must be collected separately by the following year. However, while welcoming the change, Maistry believes more can be done and the proposed changes will only scratch the surface of the efforts required for the UK to meet the new targets.
Maistry concluded: “We need government leadership to revolutionise household collections. The recycling industry should be led from the top. Without this support and a step change in collections, we are likely to fall short of these new targets.”
Having been approved by MEPs, the package must now go back to the EU Council of Ministers for final formal approval before it becomes EU law.