1. to pass through a cycle again
2. to use again and again
(Collins Concise English Dictionary)
Real Recycling is about maximising the economic, environmental and social benefits of recycling for everyone, from local council tax payers to the national and global reprocessing industries.
Commingled collection systems that gather a range of different materials in one bag or bin and then compact them frequently create materials unsuitable for reprocessing.
'Source separated' collection systems, however, produce materials that can be reprocessed, usually in the UK, creating value and benefits for everyone.
The needs of the re-processor should be central to the design of any collection system.
Source separated collection systems separate materials as much as possible before they arrive at the local recycling depot ready for sale to a reprocessor.
As Mal Williams of the Wales Community Recycling Network puts it; "The first thing we as collectors did was go and find a market for the materials we were planning to collect. We asked the reprocessors what they wanted and designed our collection system from that starting point."
In practice this means residents have one or more separate boxes for different 'dry' recyclable materials and another for 'wet' materials such as kitchen waste. These materials are then collected in a way that maintains this separation, usually by placing the materials into different containers on the collection vehicle.
UK reprocessors of paper and glass, clothes and aluminum prefer (and often pay higher prices for) source separated materials.
The improved price for materials collected can be used to offset collection costs.
The Campaign for Real Recycling wants local authorities to ensure reprocessors receive their materials in the same condition as when the householder dropped them into the recycling box in their kitchen.
Click here for a sample of local authorities running source separated collections