WRAP has updated its recycling guidelines for local authorities, waste management companies and reprocessors in a bid to help tackle the “continued confusion” in UK households around what items can and cannot be recycled.
The guidelines cover paper, card, mixed paper and card, plastic bottles, mixed plastic packaging, glass containers, metal packaging, cartons, food waste and garden waste.
- What items can and cannot be collected for recycling.
- Contaminants that are often included.
- How the materials should be presented e.g. lids on/off.
- Reasons why certain items cannot be accepted or should be presented in a certain way.
The guidelines reflect what, at a national level, industry is aiming to achieve, WRAP says. They have been developed based on existing technology and will be reviewed over time as innovations in sorting and reprocessing are realised.
WRAP said consumer testing revealed a low level of awareness amongst consumers of many items that are currently not recyclable, as well as highlighting a number of items which are often not recycled owing to a lack of knowledge or confusion.
Lee Marshall, LARAC – “Without a willingness to engage local authorities this couldn’t have happened and we now encourage local authorities to use these guidelines to enhance their communications and give the public the consistent messages they say they want.”
Lee Marshall from the Local Authority Recycling Action Committee (LARAC), which was involved in the developing of the guidelines, said: “The fact that local authorities and reprocessors were able to work constructively to produce these guidelines shows the way forward for increasing recycling levels in the UK.
“Without a willingness to engage local authorities this couldn’t have happened and we now encourage local authorities to use these guidelines to enhance their communications and give the public the consistent messages they say they want.”
Ray Georgeson from The Resource Association said the guidelines are a “necessary next step in the journey towards greater consistency in household recycling collections and in the essential task of improving the quality of recyclate by reducing contamination.” I commend them to local authorities and industry alike and I hope they are rapidly adopted in the coming months.”