Mixed household waste - consisting of textiles, electronics, organic and other consumer goods - can be contaminated and difficult to separate, and hence limit the recovery of materials and value.
Source separation reduces the upstream sorting cost and ensures that downstream recyclers receive clean feedstock, thus improving their ability to capture the value from post-consumer material streams. Source separation systems can take a variety of forms, such as providing a distributed network of collection points throughout a city for residents to drop off various types of waste materials. The most successful examples of this include: collection of electronics, plastics, waste oil, fabrics, metals, bulky goods, paper, cardboard, batteries, amongst others.
Local governments can support the implementation of the solution by developing and providing the necessary infrastructure throughout the city or engage in public-private partnerships to provide source separation systems. What is more, information campaigns can help to inform residents on which types of consumer goods can be recovered, and the most effective means of disposal.