Recycling Industry Plastic and Paper Bound for Shipment Ecology
An interesting dilemma is posing itself, not imminently but in the near future with regards to the collection of waste paper products and other waste produced by retailers.
Councils are arguing that supermarkets should be paying for the cost of recycling the amount of waste produced probably in line with the Climate Change Levy that is being charged to businesses on their use of electricity in a bid to reduce waste products and encourage recycling. The reason for this outcry is probably because the amount of money they receive for the sourced product is lower than the cost of collecting this and therefore produces a negative cash flow in their accounts. Should this happen then is is likely that the costs of recycling will be added to the consumers food bill or the business tax rates charged by local councils.
As a business we donated our cardboard to a local charity who used to get paid for collecting the papers, adding useful funds to their efforts and building community. This was a win win situation for all concerned. As a result of the drop in the price of the waste paper as a resource, the paper mill was out of pocket and has now asked the charity to pay for the collection of the container at a cost of £ 30 per month. The charity have therefore decided not to continue with the collection which is understandable. It stands to lose the funds, the goodwill and the community building that resulted from its monthly collections.
I am guessing that the Councils are feeling the same pinch in their cash flow and want retailers to pick up the tab. If the cost of recycling waste exceeds the value as a recycled resource, it is likely that waste will be returned to landfill for which they have ever decreasing targets. This creates a problem that requires a solution.
The costs of recycling have to be met somewhere either by the supplier, the retailer or the consumer. There was a motion last year for consumers and households to pay per waste load on top of the money paid in the community charge for the collection of waste and recycling.
How can we make it add up?
Most products arrive in either a cardboard box or a cardboard tray then wrapped in plastic. The cardboard can be dealt with by recycling and would be preferable than bags and bags of plastic waste for which currently there is no recycling route.
Herein lies an opportunity.......and I see no immediate solution.
If we reduce food miles and consumption we also stand to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to waste. Alternatively, suppliers could produce plastic trays made from the plastic wraps that are returnable to the supplier so they can be reused. Is is possible to create a recycling loop within suppliers so that the waste products you receive as a retailer can be returned like empty milk bottles to your supplier? That would add to the miles the stuff needs to get transported.
How can we step back and downshift our waste products?