A comparison of recycling depots, the yellow sack and recycling bins
Recycling Depot and Bavaria
Recycling depots are of central importance in many of Bavaria's cities, towns and administrative districts. This special feature of the Bavarian disposal structure has specific advantages, but is also repeatedly questioned in certain areas.
Highly developed sorting technologies provide new perspectives for the separation of recyclable material mixtures. Reform of recycling and waste legislation is intensifying the discussion about the introduction of the recyclable materials bin. Against this background, in cooperation with the joint local waste authority ZAK Kempten and Kempten University of Applied Sciences, bifa compared the recycling depot system with the collection of lightweight packaging (LVP) in the pick-up system and collection via a uniform recyclable materials bin with regard to their environmental effect, costs and acceptance among the population. The client was the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Health ("Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Gesundheit").
Environmental effect, costs and acceptance
By introducing mixed lightweight packaging collection in the bring system and by collection in the pick-up system the quantities of recyclable materials collected can be increased in comparison to the collection of homogeneous waste sorted by type in the bring system, by mobilising recyclable material fractions from domestic waste. At the same time the quantity of domestic waste constituents also collected, which have to be disposed of as residues from the sorting, also increases. Compared to the collection systems, mixed lightweight packaging collection at the recycling depot with the help of the recyclable material sack is the most ecoefficient solution. The ecoefficiency of collection of homogeneous waste, sorted by type, at the recycling depot is similar to that of the pick-up system scenarios. Compared to the pick-up system scenarios there are no significant differences in the ecoefficiency of the "yellow sack" and "recyclable materials bin" scenarios.
The cost consideration is focussed on the individual economic costs of the ZAK. These are the costs, among other things, for lightweight packaging collection at the recycling depots or disposal of the relevant domestic waste fractions and cost remunerations between the dual systems (for the collection and recovery of packaging wastes) and the ZAK for services provided. The current situation of mixed lightweight packaging collection at the recycling depot is the most favourable variant for the ZAK in terms of costs. Development of separate recyclable material collection and avoidance of emissions from the collection lead to environmentally related advantages for the pick-up system scenarios in comparison to the bring system scenarios. The "recycling bin" scenario produces the highest environmental relief, more than the "yellow sack" scenario.
Quantitative survey on public acceptance and use
Within the scope of this project more than 700 citizens were surveyed at recycling depots and in town centres on their use and acceptance of the recycling depot system. The results show that the ZAK's current (bring) system is used intensively and is assessed as being very positive. However, faced with the choice between using a yellow bin or yellow sacks or a recyclable material bin with free collection instead of the recyclable material sack, only 29% of the people surveyed would like to keep the recyclable materials sack. 38 % opted spontaneously for the recycling bin, while 33 % prefer the yellow sack or rather the yellow bin. Even if most appear to like the recyclable material bin, at least spontaneously, at the same time it triggers strong misgivings if not uneasiness; because it contradicts the established and positively perceived idea of waste separation.
A detailed description of the project is given in bifa-Text No. 55.
(Available in German only)
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