Is Household Waste Recycling Economically Sustainable?

By buntingeurope | 18 March 2016

Councils Losing Income – Price of Recycled Materials Falls

The slowdown in the global economy is impacting the viability of many recycling operations, reports the BBC.  Local authorities have seen falls in steel prices of 88% and a halving in the price of waste plastic.

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-7954

The fall in the price of recycled materials comes at a time when the amount of waste being processed is continually increasing and as political pressure for increased recycling from the UK and European Parliaments intensifies.  And there does not appear to be any prospect of change in the near future.

The only way to potentially increase the value of the recycled waste is to increase the purity or further segregate.  Steel and Aluminium are two relatively easily recovered materials (by using Overband Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators) but the value can be compromised if contaminated with paper and plastic.

Many waste recycling operations have targets that relate to throughput and not recycled material output and this often compromises quality.  Seeking advice from equipment suppliers to improve the purity of recycled products is one way to potentially recover a small part of the lost revenue from falling prices.

As the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, demonstrated yesterday, predicting movements in the global economy is exceptionally difficult if not impossible and there is no short term expectation of a strong recovery or increase in the price of recycled materials.  Looking at increasing product purity and productivity are potentially the only ways to combat lost revenue.

For further information on equipment such as Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators for metal recovery, please contact the Bunting Technical Sales Team on

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Fax: +44 (0) 1442 875009

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