What are Mixed Commodities?

what are mixed commodities?

Mixed commodities (also called mixed waste), refers to all the waste generated by a household. It includes recyclable items (plastics, aluminum, paper), compostable waste, and other household trash.

Mixed Commodity Collection Methods

Mixed commodity waste collection methods are consumer-friendly because there isn’t any waste sorting to be done prior to trash collection. All kinds of waste go into one container, and after collection, it’s delivered to a material recovery facility (MRF).

The waste is sorted at the MRF according to its final destination: recyclables, compostable food and yard waste, and waste that cannot be recycled, reclaimed, or composted. Waste that can’t be reclaimed in some form is then sent to the landfill. It’s estimated that only 5%-30% of materials (recyclables, etc.) are recovered through the waste sorting process at a material recovery facility.

The amount of recoverable material increases if the waste is ‘clean’ and comes from a source with lots of similar refuse (i.e., a large office building that produces mostly paper waste), and if the MRF is paired with a composting facility.

While the mixed commodity method does allow for recovery of some recyclable items, other waste disposal methods (like single stream recycling), result in a much larger percentage of recovered materials and less trash in landfills.

Key Takeaways

  • Mixed waste refers to all the waste generated by a household
  • A mixed commodity method allows for recovery of some recyclable items

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