News in brief | CIWM Business Partner update


Valpak: 2022 is on track for highest-ever volume of UK plastic packaging waste recycling

plastic packaging

National Packaging Waste Database figures show that the UK achieved the highest volume of plastic packaging recycling on record in the second quarter of 2022. This follows last year’s news that, for the first time, the UK market was outstripping exports.

Commercial Operations Analyst at Reconomy Group company Valpak, James Armitage, said: “These latest figures show that things are moving in the right direction. Higher volumes of material managed in the UK result in a more robust data trail and confidence that material is being processed responsibly.

At the same time, PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) funding provides substantial investment in UK infrastructure.

“At the same time, PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) funding provides substantial investment in UK infrastructure.

“However, there is still room for improvement across the industry. Valpak has always favoured UK reprocessing – in 2021, 70 per cent of our plastics PRNs were sourced from UK businesses, compared with a UK figure of 53 per cent.

“Since 2017, we have invested over £200 million into UK recycling infrastructure through our PRN purchasing, and over £120 million for plastic specifically. As the market adapts to greater demand for UK-sourced material, we look forward to seeing others follow our lead.”

Although UK plastic packaging recycling has risen steadily since 2016, 2021 saw a significant jump. The figures for 2022 currently suggest that 2022 is on track to be the highest volume of UK plastic reprocessing year ever, potentially hitting over 600,000 tonnes of plastic reprocessed in the UK if current volumes are maintained.

The total for 2021 was 593,000 tonnes. Valpak says this would be a significant achievement in a relatively short space of time, representing a 33% increase in UK volume compared to 2019 (if the 600,000-tonne figure is met for 2022).


Registration and reporting key to success for recycling and waste management industry

Managing director at Re-Gen Waste, Joseph Doherty, believes that registration and reporting hold the key to the future success of the recycling and waste management industry.

Re-Gen says there are many changes underway in the recycling and resource management industry. The UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is being delayed by 13 months. Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will now not go live in July 2022 but will start in August 2023, and Doherty believes that several DRS issues need to be addressed so that the other three nations, namely England, Wales and Northern Ireland, can learn from the system.

For example, the DRS in Scotland will include glass. The plans for Wales are also that glass will be part of the DRS while the schemes in England and Northern Ireland will not include glass. In addition, the DRS in Ireland excludes glass.

Re-Gen says it has been moving towards the real-time capture and monitoring of data using the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and working in partnership with industry leaders. It says consideration needs to be given to whether Northern Ireland, England and Wales will go down the digital DRS path. A digital DRS will record materials then credit or refund householders through an app and provide opportunities for higher levels of recycling and the associated analysis.

The company says there will need to be a modulated fee for DRS material.

There is a cost involved in collecting and processing the material; the higher proportion is on collections while the less significant part is on processing.

At present, commercial companies that don’t register with the Environment Agency are charged a fee – currently £110 per year – to address non-compliance. Re-Gen says questions need to be asked about why commercial companies aren’t registering their materials as non-reporting is holding the Packaging Recycling Note (PRN) prices high.

Re-Gen says that registration underpins the regulatory change and will likely impact the market positively. Doherty continues that he sees that applying these non-compliance fees is holding back the Environment Agency because if every company was registered, the market would be open and transparent.

He argues that rather than issuing the ‘fine’, the Environment Agency could be using its powers to develop the systems, structure and guidance for the benefit of the resource management industry and to support local authorities.

Re-Gen says the new PRN system will have a higher penalty for late registration and this should be welcomed by the industry unless it creates a false economy and an artificial value to materials. I also wonder if it will go far enough. It also says that PRN doesn’t cover the full net cost recovery if DRS materials end up in the recycling bin.

Re-Gen argues that regardless of companies’ compliance with registration schemes, the additional costs which will be introduced as a result of PRN/EPR will be passed on to householders. It says this could see an extra £40-50 per year being paid at the checkout and the average ‘supermarket shop’ will increase again.


Quick Guide and Workshops launched to make waste wood classification “easy”


Operatives working at skip yards, demolition sites, and waste transfer stations are being targeted in a campaign to make it easy for them to classify demolition waste wood as part of their legal duties.

The campaign, launched by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA), includes a “simple quick guide” to help operatives collect samples and send potentially hazardous waste wood items off for testing.

The WRA is also holding a series of Training Workshops on testing, including a free one-hour online event on August 23 and a further face-to-face session on September 14 during RWM and Live.

Both the Quick Guide and Workshops are aimed at operatives and supervisors working at sites handling demolition waste wood, as opposed to senior managers.

The simple format will help operatives to understand the importance of their participation in testing and what it is they need to do.

The downloadable Quick Guide uses pictures to illustrate what wood is potentially hazardous and provides step-by-step instructions on how to take a sample of this material and send it for testing, as well as a form for operators to fill out to submit with any samples also provided.

The WRA says the workshops reinforce these messages and will explain the regulatory drivers for why the classification and testing need to be done and what the impact of failing to do this will be.

It says that participants will be guided through the process of identifying potentially hazardous material and collecting a sample for analysis, before being allowed to ask questions during a 15-minute Q&A.

Both the Guide and Workshops are being delivered in association with the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and United Resource Operators Consortium (UROC) trade associations.

Executive director of the WRA, Julia Turner, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Quick Guide and Workshops as they will give clarity to those handling waste wood from demolition and refurbishment activities.

“The simple format will help operatives to understand the importance of their participation in testing and what it is they need to do.”



Fireward Exhibit at RWM & Let’s Recycle Live 2022

Fireward Live Demonstration Feature

On the 14-15th of September Fireward will be attending RWM & Let’s Recycle Live 2022. This is the UK’s Largest event for recycling, resource & waste management and welcomes over 15,000 visitors.

At this year’s RWM & Let’s Recycle Live, Fireward says it will be showcasing the effectiveness of its industry-leading fire suppression system in a live test environment. Throughout the three days, it will be performing live demonstrations to show the importance of having fire suppression on heavy plant machinery.

The organisation’s demonstration rig resembles a vehicle engine bay with its indirect system installed on the rig, similar to a typical piece of heavy plant or machinery, to give Fireward’s live demonstration a realistic scenario.

Its indirect system utilises a pneumatic detection tube and a predefined discharge network (nozzles). Once the detection tube bursts (from the heat of the fire) the pressure drops, which in turn opens Fireward’s patented valve, forcing the agent out through the nozzles.

For demonstration purposes, the organisation use two different suppressant agents: dry powder and wet chemical. Fireward says this allows it to accurately showcase the similarities and differences between both agents respectively and to discuss why they are so effective together.

Controlled fires are ignited throughout the rig for demonstration purposes and the organisation mimics the system discharge by cutting the pneumatic detection tubing. This leads to system activation as its extinguishing agents are released through the nozzles, suppressing the fires.

You will be able to find Fireward’s static on stand LR390 and its demonstration rig is in the main demo area.

First Mile says collection data enables it to go that “extra yard”

first mile

After an initial trial, First Mile liked MOBA’s offering so much it has now ordered a further twelve bin weighing and RFID systems.

First Mile says that thanks to extensive waste data collection and analysis, greater insights into the behaviour of its customers are now being revealed.

First Mile’s Transport Manager, Michal Szuminski, said: “Data is priceless. It gets to the very heart of what our customers are asking us to collect and will help us shape the way we operate going forward.

“However, to obtain this, we knew that we needed to invest in technology solutions that would both scale with our growth expectations and be flexible enough to adapt to how our collections crews operate.”

Established in 2004 by Founder and CEO Bruce Batley, First Mile says it carved a niche in the recycling market after recognising that businesses in the London area were looking for a more environmentally responsible waste collector.

Data is priceless. It gets to the very heart of what our customers are asking us to collect and will help us shape the way we operate going forward.

Now, with more than 30,000 clients, the company says it offers 23 recycling services, reliable collections with flexible times, a zero-to-landfill guarantee, 24/7 customer support, and detailed recycling reports.

First Mile says it has been actively growing its wheeled bin business and consequently is also expanding its fleet of refuse collection vehicles.

“We have around 80 vehicles in the fleet, with 60 of these being HGVs. Operating the most efficient fleet, that is equipped with the most up-to-date technology, has always been at the core of what we do at First Mile, and so it made sense for us to add bin weighing and RFID.”

Starting with two trucks, fitted with MOBA’s Dynamic weighing and RFID systems, and over 100 hundred MOBA-chipped bins, First Mile says it was able to experience first-hand the quality of the components, the effectiveness of the systems and the supporting back-up provided by MOBA.

“We’re typically cautious when beginning a relationship with any new supplier and so, in these early stages, we were very mindful how MOBA took care of us as well as its equipment fitted to our trucks”, Szuminski said.

After a year of testing the equipment, analysing the data is was generating and observing how the crews worked with the technology, First Mile says it has now placed an order for a further set of mobile weighing and RFID systems for each of its twelve new trucks that will come off the production line later in 2022.


TOMRA to highlight its “world-class” sensor-based sorting solutions at RWM & Letsrecycle Live


TOMRA says representatives from its Recycling and Collection divisions will be on hand at Stand R-N220 to highlight the myriad of ways in which the company’s solutions are helping stakeholders across the entire value chain in the transition towards a more circular economy.

Visitors to the first combined RWM & Letsrecycle Live show, which takes place on 14-15 September at the NEC in Birmingham, will have the opportunity to find out about TOMRA’s “world-class” recycling and waste management solutions and the role they are playing in helping the UK achieve its goal of becoming a circular economy.

TOMRA’s teams will be ready to help visitors with preparing for the upcoming introduction of deposit return schemes, maximising the efficiencies of waste sorting and adhering to the latest European and international waste legislation.

TOMRA Recycling says it is established in more than 100 global markets and has more than 8,200 systems installed worldwide. The company offers a broad range of sorting applications to recover clean material fractions and says it is delivering significantly higher yields and increased value from the input material.

TOMRA says visitors to the stand will learn about the company’s latest innovations in sensor-based sorting technology for boosting purity levels of target materials, including its latest AUTOSORT® unit which combines “state-of-the-art” features and technologies in one machine. It continues that AUTOSORT® guarantees better detection and monitoring across the entire belt width and the separation of difficult-to-sort fractions such as PET from bottles and trays.

With more than 80,000 installations across 60 markets, TOMRA says its reverse vending machines capture more than 40 billion used beverage containers every year.

Experts from TOMRA Collection will be demonstrating the company’s “industry-leading” reverse vending technology for deposit return schemes, ahead of the launch of Scotland’s scheme next year and England, Wales & Northern Ireland in 2024. TOMRA says there will be opportunities for visitors to use the machines themselves and to hear expert advice on how to prepare for the scheme.

On Day 2 of the show, as part of the Deposit Return Scheme joint session in the Packaging Theatre, Mark Brill, Vice President of Sales & Marketing TOMRA Collection UK & Ireland, will speak about TOMRA’s learnings from deposit return schemes around the world and what this means for the UK & Ireland.

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