The wide world of recycling

The wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

A Paris suburb will use pneumatic tubes instead of trucks to transport waste and recycling, and the plastics industry in the U.K. is expressing new concerns about meeting government-imposed recycling targets.

A contract to design and build a pneumatic collection system for household waste in Saint-Ouen, a suburb north of Paris, France, has been awarded to SITA France and SAFEGE, subsidiaries of Suez Environment. The system will use compressed air and pipes to move and store refuse in an underground network that will have a length of nearly 4 miles.

The system will have 143 collection points that will use two terminals, one for household waste and the other for recyclable materials. The company plans to make the system fully-automated in the interest of reducing energy consumption and will not use vehicles for collection. The system will cost 20 million euros (around $25 million).

Last month, the plastic industry in the U.K. harshly criticized a government mandate seeking to double the amount of plastic collected for recycling in the next five years. Now, the industry is saying that it will be even more difficult to meet that target if China restricts imports of waste plastics from the European Union, similar to actions already taken by Malaysia.

"The new recycling targets, already heavily criticized as unrealistic due to the lack of adequate collection and recycling infrastructure, will fail even sooner than expected if these new developments in the Far East come about," said Barry Turner, CEO of the Packaging and Films Association, in a prepared statement.

According to the PAFA, the Chinese government has stated that it will consider strictly enforcing regulations that prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics. As much as 67 percent of Britain's plastic waste is exported to East Asia, especially China, according to the PAFA, and the U.K. doesn't have the infrastructure to meet the government targets.

"This will require a significant investment in Europe to fill the size of the hole created which will require time to develop" said Turner, "but such moves would have a huge impact on the waste industry in the UK, especially when it comes to meeting plastic recycling targets set by DEFRA.

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