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Axion helping UK councils move waste up the hierarchy

United Kingdom – Tighter budgets and the need to increase recycling rates are prompting more local authorities in the UK to seek expert help to extract more value from the household waste they collect, according to resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting. Demand for its range of waste evaluation services ‘€˜is rising as councils look for innovative ways to improve their waste collection services and potentially increase revenue streams from recyclables’€™.

Methods to achieve this include gaining a better understanding of current waste streams via compositional analysis studies and reviewing existing collection services to evaluate how much value is gained from the waste currently being collected and processed.

Liz Morrish, principal consultant at Axion, explains: ‘Local authorities are always trying to extract more value from the waste they are responsible for and this can be achieved by moving waste up the hierarchy. This could be achieved by collecting other materials at the kerbside for recycling, or through energy recovery so that waste is diverted from landfill.’

According to Morrish, many councils in the UK have now achieved good recycling levels. ‘But rates still need to increase to meet EU targets,’ she stresses. ‘So the focus is now on what is left in the residual waste stream and what else could be captured from which to gain value; this is becoming increasingly important as budget cuts start to bite.’

Axion has worked with Hampshire County Council and Project Integra on analysing plastic waste to gain a better understanding of the types and volumes that could potentially be recycled. This study has provided ‘a more detailed’ breakdown of plastic formats and types, and explored not only the effects that changing collection of plastics would have on recycling but also end markets for plastic waste.

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