January 6th, 2017

What’s behind the rise in three-weekly rubbish collections?

by Peter Jones

 

Three-weekly residual waste collections are on the rise, but remain highly controversial. Their introduction has been heralded by stories of over-spilling bins, growing populations of rats, and people buying “top-up” collections from opportunist private bin companies – in fact, all of the same ill-founded fears that were raised about fortnightly collections.

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October 14th, 2016

Rejected hypotheses: analysing England’s recycling data

by Peter Jones and Andy Grant

 

Is the increase in recycling rejects in England due to an increase in the amount of contamination in recycling bins, caused by growing confusion amongst the public? Last month we identified a couple of other possibilities that would also explain the 184,000 tonne rise: better data capture, or better sorting at materials recycling facilities (MRFs). However, we didn’t attempt to assess which is the most plausible. In this article, we begin that tricky task.

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October 7th, 2016

Back to MRF: rejects and contamination

by Andy Grant and Peter Jones

 

When we wrote last month about the possible causes of the rise in reported recycling rejects, one of the concerns we raised was that materials recycling facilities (MRFs) have historically underreported rejects. We also highlighted the concerns reprocessors have in the past expressed regarding the quality of MRF outputs.

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September 30th, 2016

What’s VAT got to do with the price of bins?

by Peter Jones

 

Should local authorities have to charge VAT on their commercial waste services? Not according to Mr Justice Warren of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), who this month declined to overturn HMRC’s 2011 decision that such services were VAT exempt.

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September 23rd, 2016

Myth takes – “It all just gets sent to China”

by Peter Jones

 

There seems to be a lurking suspicion out there that most of the UK’s recycling gets sent to China. People complain that this is a farcical state of affairs which negates the value of recycling. Some seem to think that, once recycling gets to China, it’s more likely to be buried or burned than recycled. Do these ideas have little any basis in reality?

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September 9th, 2016

Can we sort out the contamination confusion?

by Peter Jones and Andy Grant

 

The latest flurry of disparagement around the 2014/15 stats on local authority recycling rejects provides an unfortunate reminder that this is a confusing topic. Indeed, it seems it is easy to misunderstand even if, like the Daily Mail and Daily Express, you’ve had it explained to you at length.

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July 29th, 2016

Ought we to protect the environment?

by Peter Jones

 

Can we say that we ought to protect the environment? Is there a moral obligation on us to do so? In other words, is environmentalism a branch of ethics?

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