"Sustainable Hackney understands that a paper on a change to the recycling system for street level properties will be presented to Cabinet on 20th March. We feel that the proposed change should be subject to a wider debate and consultation and that any decision on this issue should be deferred to allow this to take place.
The change from kerb-side sorted to commingled collection is not a minor operational decision. The Green Box (kerbside sorted) system is well proven and has a high level of public support in the borough, delivering clean materials acceptable to UK reprocessors. The proposed Orange Sack (commingled) system, whatever its other merits, is a worse option environmentally as even a good MRF (Material Recycling Facility) produces lower quality materials which are less acceptable to the recycling industry and are associated in the public mind with waste exports to low wage countries.
The perception that we are moving away from closed-loop recycling to down-cycling with little environmental benefit could undermine public confidence in what is currently an environmental success story for the borough. A wider debate about what should happen to our waste and how we can divert more recyclables away from landfill could be positive in stimulating better solutions and more involvement in this issue.
Public confidence would also be boosted by publishing the full results of the Cazenove Ward recycling trial along with a proper environmental impact assessment, the financial case, and the other options which were considered.
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