Some Councils sort recycling at the kerbside. Or rather, the company they use to collect their recycling sorts it at the kerbside. Residents in those districts may have as many as five bins for different recycling: one for plastic; one for glass; one for paper; one for card; one for food.
Now, the keen recyclers among you may wonder, ‘Why don’t Exeter do that? Why not have residents sort more recycling themselves?’ Well, Exeter City Council know the city isn’t made up of only keen recyclers, therefore they recognise the need to make it easy for everyone to recycle.
ECC are one of the few councils in the country to own and operate a Materials Reclamation Facility [MRF].
All the mixed recycling is taken into the plant and sorted it there before selling it for the best prices, generating over £1m per year for essential public services in the city.
If the Councilcollected glass in the green bin, it would get crushed and contaminate the rest of the recycling. It would also damage the equipment and pose a hazard to the workers in the MRF. There is also an economic benefit to not collecting it from home: ECC would have to pay people to take mixed glass away, whereas they pay ECC for colour-sorted glass from banks.
Because the City Council run all of our waste collection services in house, they can sort and sell materials themselves for the best prices. Other district authorities who don’t operate like this will send it to third-parties who will sort it for them; those companies will pay the authority a certain amount for the material, but will make more money by selling the materials themselves to reprocessors (the companies that turn it into new products).
In Exeter we can extract the most valuable material before sending the smaller, less valuable stuff off for sorting by third parties – material that still counts towards the city’s recycling rate. This means ECC are extracting the maximum value from your recycling, to the benefit of your city.