According to a new report, co-mingled collections are a positive step to many local authorities reducing costs and increasing the proportion of household waste being recycled.
The findings, from global consultancy WYG, with financial contributions from recycling specialists Biffa and PlasticsEurope, highlight that 20 of the 30 top performing councils in Britain for dry recycling collection operate a fully co-mingled service that includes glass.
WYG's researchers analysed information submitted to central government by local authorities for the year 2010/11 to identify the key drivers to the top performing and most improved councils for collecting dry recycling. This year's report also features a focus on plastics collection: analysing which authorities collect the most plastics, the collection methods used by the top performers, and the carbon impacts of the different collection methods.
Len Attrill, WYG's project director, 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, with both recycling and residual waste collected fortnightly using wheeled bins.”
Although affluent areas tend to have higher yields of all materials, the analysis reveals 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.
This highest performing fully co-mingled authority collects nearly 60kg per household per year more than Guildford, the highest performing authority that collects using mainly kerbside sort.
Findings have also highlighted that no authority in the top 30 for kerbside sort recycling collects all materials separately: two collect mainly using kerbside sort, but provide co-mingled collections for some materials or some households. These two authorities collect recycling weekly; 26 out of the top 30 kerbside sort collecting councils collect fortnightly.