CRR calls for “clearer” recycling terminology

Clearer terminology is needed to describe how recyclables collected at the kerbside are sorted, according to the Campaign for Real Recycling.


The group – which campaigns on behalf of a number of reprocessors and social enterprises for better quality of recyclables- claims that definitions to date have been confusing.


CRR calls for “clearer” recycling terminology

CRR calls for “clearer” recycling terminology

It is now suggesting the terms ‘kerb-sorted’ and ‘MRF-sorted’, which denotes when recyclables are sent to a materials recycling facility (MRF), to differentiate between what it sees as the two main collection methods.

The body – which has been a firm advocate of sorting recyclables at the kerbside – hopes that the new terminology will counter the perception by some that householders have to put more effort in when putting out recyclables which are then sorted at the kerbside.

For instance, it says that the word ‘commingled’ is often used to describe material which is destined for a MRF when this material is often sorted at the kerbside instead.

Calling it simply by where the sorting takes place is logical and appropriate

Andrew Perkins, Aylesford Newsprint

Mal Williams, chair of the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR), said: “There has been some confusion of terms in the past and as more and more people and organisations tune in to the need for quality in recycling, clearer terms are needed.

“Nearly all householders put their recyclables in a receptacle of some kind outside the house and there is a subsequent need for sorting of the material. That much is common to almost all systems and the effort from the householder is much the same.

“We make the point that some systems allow for quality control and feedback at the kerb, which results in better quality material. It seems logical to us to say ‘kerb-sorted’ and ‘MRF-sorted’, which neatly describes both the systems and the materials in one go, and this is what we recommend.”


The new terminology was welcomed by Andrew Perkins of Aylesford Newsprint, which is an indirect member of the CRR through its membership of the Paperchain campaign.

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“We certainly know the difference when we see the tonnage. Calling it simply by where the sorting takes place is logical and appropriate. Industry bodies such as CIWM should be leading in coining suitable, everyday terminology for these now universal activities. There is too much misunderstanding at the moment.”

Joy Blizzard, chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, added: “This is a helpful suggestion and I hope it will bring some clarity to an issue that has been surrounded by a lot of complex terminology.”


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