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Low cost of cardboard prompts Donarbon to compost it


Cambridge-based waste management firm Donarbon will look to compost its cardboard if it cannot find end markets for it.

The announcement from the firm comes amid lack of demand for paper and cardboard from global markets and a sharp drop in prices.

Speaking to MRW waste promotions manager Mark Shelton said the cardboard it takes from council civic amenity sites and private customers is sent on to reprocessors Waste2Go and SCA for recycling. But Shelton said: “The value of this material is now zero and we are looking to compost cardboard. Demand for the compost we make from green waste, from council kerbside collections and civic amenity sites, and from private companies, remains very high from local farmers, because the price of artificial fertilisers is so high. We have a waiting list of farmers wanting compost, so making more compost with cardboard makes sense when its value is so low for recycling.”

Donarbon has large contracts with councils in Cambridgeshire but it has not noticed a reduction in the amount of recyclables it collects. Shelton said: “In the past we haven’t charged councils for taking recyclables, when their value was high, as income we received covered our handling costs. Now this is not the case and we have to charge councils, or their contractors, a handling charge for paper, cans and plastic bottles. At present we are still receiving a reasonable income for glass and we are still taking this free of charge from councils.”

Waste management firm Greenstar UK said it was not cutting back on spending on its major projects. Greenstar chief executive Ian Wakelin said: “The state of the financial market means we are tightly controlling costs and focusing on getting paid promptly. We are cutting back on some discretionary expenditure until markets and income improve. But we are not cutting back on our major capital projects such as developing our Atlas super materials recycling facility (MRF) in north London, and the final fit of our Aldridge super MRF.

“The current market does create investment opportunities and Greenstar will remain alert to any such opportunities, such as acquiring quality regional waste transfer and recyclable processing operations that can support our strategy for a national recycling led-service.”

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