Resource London has launched a ‘Cost of Contamination Toolkit’, a free online tool to help local authorities calculate estimates of the cost of contamination in their recycling, including collection and communication.
Resource London – a partnership between the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and WRAP – worked with some of the capital’s waste authorities to better understand how the financial and performance implications of contamination in the recycling stream are assessed.
According to Resource London, feedback from the project showed there is no consistent approach to measuring the full cost of contamination.
Feedback also highlighted that many authorities are only taking into account additional gate fees for contaminated recycling rather than looking at a full range of other operational costs, and only a minority are reporting financial impacts to members.
The organisation and the London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNET) commissioned sustainability consultancy Anthesis to develop the toolkit and worked with local authorities, LARAC, WRAP and the ESA to agree the structure and functionality of the toolkit.
Users are required to enter information on their recycling services, which will include current actions being taken to reduce contamination in areas such as communications, collections, bulking and treatment.
The results created will be in an Excel format and will include graphs and tables with cost per tonne, and cost per household, of contamination in the recycling supply chain.
Beverley Simonson, local authority support manager at Resource London, said: “Capturing high quality material is at the heart of all local authority recycling services, but all too often material is contaminated, reducing its value in the supply chain.
“This new toolkit, developed by Resource London, gives local authorities the means to identify the true financial impact of contamination on their services. This information can then be used to tackle the issue on an invest-to-save basis. We hope all London boroughs will use it.”
Mandy Pile from LARAC said: “LARAC was delighted to be involved in the development of the toolkit, as identifying the true cost of contamination is a pertinent issue for every waste collection authority. We would encourage our members to use it.”