A series of articles have recently been published by the Daily Telegraph and Greenpeace Unearthed which contain several inaccurate and unfounded accusations about the way that we run our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).
It’s disappointing that an undercover reporter was sent “behind the scenes” in a facility that already opens its doors to many thousands of visitors every year from the community, schools and the media.
The MRF, in Wandsworth, London, is one of the highest-quality, best-run and most modern recycling facilities in the country, and residents should feel reassured that their efforts are not in vain. This is because when the recyclables are clean and sorted properly, we successfully send more than 99% of this for recycling.
We recover energy from the materials which we cannot recycle – this accounts for c.13% of the total materials we receive at the MRF. Absolutely nothing goes outside Europe, and all this data is reported to the Environment Agency.
But the UK’s recycling system needs to improve if we are to emulate some of the greenest countries in the world, including Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Their systems are based on recycling and energy recovery and they have banned landfill altogether. It is our firm view that this is the most sustainable approach to recycling and waste management.
Unfortunately, recycling is a dirty job, but it shouldn’t be. No system is perfect and despite all of our efforts, there’s still a lot of education and work required to reduce the contamination that enters the recycling system before it arrives at the MRF. Pests are an unavoidable part of working in a waste facility and we have rigorous hygiene standards and pest control procedures in place.
The solution does not lie with recycling and waste management companies alone, but it requires a joined-up effort involving companies like Cory together with local authorities, national policy-makers, householders and the companies that manufacture the products which ultimately end up in our recycling and waste streams.
For anyone with any doubt, we strongly urge you to book a visit to the MRF and join the many thousands who come each year to see for themselves that we have nothing to hide. Visitors will see a modern, efficient recycling facility run by a responsible employer with staff who are well trained, well looked after and who we trust to do the right thing.
For further information you can also view this immersive 3D tour of the business including the MRF as well as a recent BBC Earth Unplugged documentary which was filmed at the MRF and shows the whole process.
Information about the performance of the MRF in 2018 can be found in our recently-published sustainability report.