In his regular feature, Denis the Dustcart asks the question “Why don’t we take cartons in the green recycling bin?”
Why don’t we take them in the green bin? Because we don’t have enough spaces on our picking line to pick them off without sacrificing some of the more recyclable and valuable items.
Cartons have multiple layers – waxed card, plastic and aluminium – which makes them very hard to recycle. They need to be kept separate; they can’t be processed with the card.
Since they are so hard to recycle, there isn’t much value in them for us, either. This may seem like one of those ‘they only think about the money’ situations, but the reality is that the recycling industry is governed by the markets and local authorities have to think very carefully about their budgets.
It’s also true that focusing on recycling hard-to-recycle materials rather than on making materials easier to recycle in the first place is the wrong way around.