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Survey says… Recycling quality harmed by one-bin approach

United States – In North America, a survey of mills’ recovered paper buyers regarding their ability to successfully use the recyclables sorted from ‘one-bin’ collection programmes clearly shows that the recycling of paper is ‘significantly diminished both in quality and quantity’ in communities where mixed waste processing systems are put in place, states Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

The preliminary results of the survey reveal that, of those respondents who purchase recovered fibre from mixed waste processing centres, 70% find the quality to be worse than most other recovered paper. Furthermore, 90% of those mill buyers have had to downgrade or reject the paper from the mixed waste processing centres at a higher rate than recovered paper from ‘regular’ material recovery facilities.

Some 62% of those surveyed feel that ISRI specifications should stipulate that paper recovered from one-bin programmes and separated in mixed waste processing centres ‘is not fit for use in USA paper mills’.

For the 75% of respondents who opt not to purchase recovered fibre from mixed waste processing centres, the following reasons are cited: contamination; odour; low quality; higher levels of prohibitives and outthrows; purchase prevented by internal quality standards; too risky; excessive moisture; and quality ‘will not meet the mills’ customers’ needs’.

The research findings will be released in full within the next few weeks.

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