Negotiations are currently taking place at Hackney Council about whether they are going to be replacing the green recycling bins everyone is familiar with with new orange sacks. The council is hoping that by introducing these orange sacks, people are going to start recycling more.
The Council have targeted a recycling rate of 50 percent within the next eight years, with currently around 25 percent of waste in the area being successfully recycled. By introducing this new system of orange sacks many people feel that the council is moving in a bad direction.
The current system of using a green box allows different materials to be sorted in the home before they are sent off to the recycling facilities. This is known as curbside recycling and is a very different process from that which would occur with the orange sacks. The orange sacks would co-mingle all of the recycling together and they would later be separated at a factory through a mechanical sorting process.
While this might seem that it would make people’s lives easier for recycling, it would actually lead to a reduction in the amount being recycled as there is a higher amount of contamination with the commingling sort of recycling.
The mixed recycling would mean that the recycling facilities which buy this sort of material would be less likely to do so. It would most probably lead to much of this material being shipped abroad for sorting elsewhere, which can itself, have an environmental impact.
Furthermore, less recycling would take place because less materials would be acceptable to be put in the orange sacks. Unlike the current recycling bin, it cannot accept batteries and old clothes. This means that these items which were previously being recycled are more likely to end up in landfill.