Collection systems for Paper for Recycling

IMPACTPaperRec / Best practice handbook / Collection systems for Paper for Recycling

In the European Union, several types of collection systems for paper for recycling exist.  A description for the most relevant collection systems is showed below: bring banks, recycling yards, Door-to-Door, separate collection and selective collection. The degree of separation of these collection systems is also explained for each system.

1. Collection System

1.1. Bring Recycling Sites

According to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme in UK), bring recycling sites are defined as areas in car parks and on streets, at which local authorities or third parties, provide containers (“banks”) for the public to deposit recyclable materials.

WRAP has published a guide for local authorities to help municipalities improve the performance of bring recycling sites. The guide describes how to review current bring recycling provision, including performance monitoring, to better inform future decisions about on bring recycling, as part of the overall service provided to residents. This guide should be used as a step by step reference guide and a conceptual directive.

Consider that WRAP is the Waste & Resources Action Program in UK which means that exist differences with the European collection systems.

1.1.1. Bring Banks

Bring banks are fixed recycling site facilities that allow citizens to bring their dry recyclable materials for recycling whenever they want to. In some cases, there is a schedule established, as in the case of Germany, where there is a schedule for using bring banks in residential areas to avoid noise pollution for citizen living nearby.

They are usually positioned in easily accessible locations with good roadside parking to make recycling as convenient as possible.

The Bring Banks collection systems allow the collection of waste and recyclables in separate container, above ground or underground, in close proximity to the end user (usually max. 100-200 m distance) and spread in sufficient number across residential areas.

The advantage of bring banks systems over door to door (D-t-D) collection is that they allow people to recycle in the most convenient way for them, rather than having to wait for fixed collection days and hours.

Bring bank site in Szczecin (Poland) (11). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec Project)

1.1.2 Recycling Yards

Centralised site authorised by the authorities for the separate collection of domestic waste and recyclables.

They are public installations with free and open access for the citizen where urban waste, recyclables, hazardous waste or large-volume waste that must not be deposited in standard street containers are collected and sorted. They usually have opening hours.
They are particularly aimed at those residues whose components, after a treatment process, can be reused as raw material in the process of manufacturing new products. This kind of installations require usually qualified staff available.

The kind of materials that are accepted in each recycling yard varies depending on the site, so it is important to publish in the municipality website the location, opening hours and type of material collected. The following list shows the typically accepted materials in the recycling yards.

Common acceptable waste in the recycling yards

Paints, varnishes, glues, paint strippers, synthetic turpentine, dyes, wood protectors
Batteries and accumulators
Vehicle batteries
Fluorescent or special lamps (halogen)
Chemicals and packaging containing dangerous products such as pesticides, cleaning products, disinfectants
Aerosol sprays
Bulky waste
Electrics and electronics waste
White goods
Used oil
Green waste
Refurbishing waste

Note: Those materials can vary depending on the site

Recycling yard (household waste recycling centre HWRC). Methry Tydfil (UK). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec Project)
Recycling yard (household waste recycling centre HWRC). Methry Tydfil (UK). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec Project)

1.1.2. Door-to-Door (D-t-D)

The D-t-D collection (also called kerbside collection) consists on the direct collection of materials from individual households (or shops), either from door or kerb. Almost any domestic waste stream can be collected from the streets by a D-t-D system: residual waste, biowaste, packaging, paper and cardboard and glass.
The results of D-t-D collection achieved in municipalities could be superior in some cases, both regarding the amount collected and the quality of separation. Indeed, in areas with D-t-D collection, separate collection rates rise up to 60 – 85% regarding the total MSW generation, whereas other systems range between 20% and, at most, 50%.

The philosophy behind D-t-D is to turn separation at source into the most convenient option and discourage the delivery of great amounts of residual waste.

Implementation of D-t-D collection has proved very successful in areas with lower population density, where it is easier to identify the origin of the waste and recyclables. D-t-D collection systems require a change of habits on the part of the public, which could be achieved through an adequate communication campaign.

D-t-D collection models make possible to identify waste generators and therefore enable to implement fairer payment systems, such as PAYT (payment for generation, e.g. payment per bag or payment per bin).

D-t-D collection of recyclables – plastic & metal packaging and cardboard in Methry Tydfil (UK) (11). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec project).
Recycling yard (household waste recycling centre HWRC). Methry Tydfil (UK). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec Project)

1.2. Collected Material

1.2.1. Separate Collection

The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) defines separate collection in Article 3 as follows: ‘separate collection’ means “the collection where a waste stream is kept separately by type and nature to facilitate a specific treatment”. In other words, ´separate collection´ is setting aside recyclable materials from the waste stream before they are collected with other municipal solid waste, to facilitate recycling. In addition, separate collection of compostable materials, to facilitate composting.
In these sense, separate collection of individual waste fractions is a pre-condition for fostering high quality recycling and high recycling rates. Thus, Article 10 of the WFD sets the general requirement of separate collection and obliges the Member States to set up separate collection systems for at least paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015.

The waste separate collection facilitates the recycling of this waste, which allows to:
1. Decrease the consumption of raw materials
2. Save water and energy
3. Minimize greenhouse gases emissions
4. and increase useful life of landfills

In this kind of collection, citizens play a key role in the separation of the waste in the households, markets, offices and services, placing the urban waste in the different containers.

Separate collection of plastic and metal in Methry Tydfil (UK) (11). (Source: IMPACTPapeRec project)

1.2.2. Selective Collection

´Selective collection´ consists on the introduction of a new container (in the bring banks collection system) or new bag (in D-t-D collection) to separate graphic paper from packaging cardboard. This allows the separation at the source of two different paper fractions thus decreasing (or even potentially eliminating) the need for subsequent technical sorting: 1. graphic paper and 2. non-graphic paper (mainly packaging cardboard).

Graphic paper and copy paper have an important role in the range of paper grades produced and in the worldwide need for paper. This stream corresponds to paper for recycling grade 1.11.00. The separation in the collection phase of graphic paper from the rest of paper and board rises its value in the market due to the reduction of sorting costs.

As a rule, mass products and newspapers are produces with a large portion of recovered paper. By contrast, magazines normally use fresh fibres due to the high requirements on appearance and tactile feeling. Nevertheless, even the magazine sector is starting also to use recovered paper.

For the purpose of this project, the term selective collection is used to characterize separate collection into graphic paper and packaging cardboard.

1.2.3. Commingled Collection

Commingled collection is the traditional system in which all recyclables are collected together. The main drawback of this system is the difficult in the subsequent treatment of the materials collected due to their low quality derived from cross contamination.

In commingled collection, the paper and board is collected together with other recyclables such as metal, plastics and glass in a different stream than residual waste. Also called multi-material collection.

Co-mingled collections face quality problems from two sources: cross contamination, for paper and board wet contamination specially and the technical and physical capacity of the MRF to separate materials in the volumes delivered to them.

A simple example of quality issues is paper and board.  If paper and board is stored separately from other waste streams and kept dry it can be recycled. If paper and board is contaminated with food can cause odour problems of finished product and bacteria activity might decrease strength properties.

Commingled collection of recyclables in Methry Tydfil (UK). (11) (Source: IMPACTPapeRec Project)