The cleaning industry can help reduce the level of materials being sent to landfill by carefully

segregating materials for recycling, says Cromwell Polythene Managing Director, James Lee.

With the help of high profile campaigns such as Sir David Attenborough’s recent pleas to reduce plastic in our oceans, people are grasping the importance of protecting the natural world. Littering and landfill can be reduced by re-using products where possible and separating out used materials for recycling.

Responsibly produced plastics can be recycled effectively and efficiently, or used to generate energy from waste (EfW) at the end of their useful life. This is good news for the cleaning industry, which relies heavily on plastic products, but is also committed to sustainability.

CONTAMINATION ISSUES Most people put out their waste for recycling, but data suggests there is confusion about what can be recycled, and how it should be separated to enable recycling. Improving segregation at the point of disposal across all sectors – from hazardous waste in healthcare, to janitorial and commercial recycling – will achieve a better outcome for all.


Items can often end up in the incorrect bin, for example if food waste is put in the same bag as dry recycling. Contamination can also occur when food containers, which haven’t been properly cleaned, are put in a dry recycling bag.

Poor segregation leads to increased costs of disposal for many facilities and may even result in prosecution, if the waste is ‘mixed’ and is no longer deemed suitable for the waste treatment or disposal option that has been selected. In healthcare settings, for instance, segregation onsite is vital to maintain compliance with clinical waste regulation.

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS Suppliers have an important part to play to help ensure materials are segregated effectively. Sacks, bags and speciality products for the storage and collection of segregated waste must enable easy separation and limit the chance of contamination, whilst having the lowest environmental impact.


Buyers need to look out for independent, internationally- recognised quality standards such as EN13432 and ISO quality management principles. This way they’ll know that all the constituents and components of purchase, for example their food caddy liner or green waste bin liners, will biodegrade and compost as expected.


Products such as Cromwell’s LowCO²T refuse sacks and bin liners, as well as the Ecopond range of biodegradable and compostable bags, use the very latest technology to provide sustainable solutions.

For those in the healthcare sector our clinical waste range includes ‘tiger stripe’ sacks, for disposal of offensive or hygiene waste in deep landfill; yellow UN sacks for incineration of hazardous waste; and orange UN sacks, for the disposal of infectious and potentially infectious waste in alternative treatment (AT) plants.

Products accredited by independent bodies, for instance the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA), also provide assurance of high standards of quality. The CHSA’s Manufacturing Standard Accreditation Scheme for plastic refuse sacks and bin liners requires accredited members to label their products so that the end user can buy with confidence.

WORKING TOGETHER Over the next few months Cromwell Polythene will be at a number of events including RWM 2018 where we’ll be speaking about plastics and how they can benefit the environment and improve resource efficiency. We’ll also be showcasing our products to help improve segregation at the point of disposal.


Demand for plastic will continue to grow, and so too will innovation in collection, sorting and processing technologies to make all plastic packaging recyclable. A collaborative approach is essential, which is why we’ve signed up to The UK Plastics Pact, which aims to capture the value of plastics material – keeping plastic in the economy and out of the oceans.


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