Quality cannot be compromised in the face of increasing demand for recycling, according to DS Smith, which says to improve quality yields across all materials the debate must shift back to collection methods, eco-design and education.
DS Smith’s latest report: Defining the balance in Recycling published today (9 December), focuses on the need to ensure quality materials are consistently collected even when volumes of recyclate increase.
DS Smith Business Development and External Affairs Manager Peter Clayson said:
“There’s still a huge global market for materials of the right quality. The key for paper is not that the value of the raw material has fallen in the secondary markets, it’s the fact that those who are collecting and sorting it are now having to pay the true cost of producing a quality product.”
Jonathan Scott, DS Smith – “It only takes a slight increase in the wrong sort of contamination in the waste paper for the effect on production to be very disruptive”
To improve quality yields across all materials the debate must shift back to collection methods, eco-design and education, DS Smith says.
“We’ve all got to become more engaged in the circular economy and emphasise designing materials for recyclability. Materials have got to be easy to recycle to minimise public confusion on the issue,” Clayson said.
“In terms of the systems it’s been proven that you can separate municipal materials to produce a high-quality recyclate relatively easily. Addressing contamination issues through better design and improved communication would help greatly here.”
High quality material is crucial for reprocessors and manufacturers who rely on a consistent quality input to meet their customers’ demands. Managing quality is critical to the running of the DS Smith Kemsley paper mill, the second biggest recovered fibre-based paper operation in Europe, and to mitigating risk.
Jonathan Scott, DS Smith Kemsley Mill, Operations Manager – Recycling, said: “It only takes a slight increase in the wrong sort of contamination in the waste paper for the effect on production to be very disruptive. In order to protect operations and meet production targets a rigorous and consistent approach to quality helps to maximise use of lower-cost fibres while preserving the efficiencies of manufacturing.”
Moving away from traditional linear supply chains, where materials come in, are processed and move out, to a more circular model allows for improved resource management. Linear models are exposed to multiple material leakage points and do not lend themselves to reducing and recycling the waste produced, while the concept of a supply cycle does.
By focusing on value within the waste hierarchy the report details how savings can be made by considering reduction, reuse and recycling methods, as well as providing a case study about how IKEA is reducing waste and creating circular supply cycles.