Environment Agency set to issue separate collection guidance

Amended Waste Regulations, affecting collections of certain recycled material, will come into force from 1st January 2015. The Environment Agency is finalising a briefing note to stakeholders to confirm how it will oversee the requirement to separately collect recyclable materials, as set out under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations.

The new requirement, introduced to enable the UK to comply with the Waste Framework Directive, is that these recycled materials must be collected separately to facilitate recycling and ensure that they are not mixed with others that have different properties. Under these new rules, businesses must introduce separate collections of paper and card, plastic, metals and glass, where it is ‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’ (TEEP).

The aim of separate collections is to facilitate or improve the quality of material for recycling, as compared to collecting it mixed with other waste.

As part of the Environment Agency’s efforts to police separate collection legislation, councils and waste collection companies will be asked to supply information on their collection arrangements. Full guidance has yet to be issued, but in a draft briefing note, the Environment Agency (EA) has said that they will ask operators to supply information on their current collection methods by 31 March 2015 and will maintain a database to update that information. They also state that it aims to help collectors to achieve compliance, but will be robust with those who deliberately ignore their obligations and further action will be taken where necessary.

Clarity Environmental Managing Director, David Adams, said: “The purpose of separate collections is to ensure high-quality recycling and there is wide opinion that the new rules present many opportunities to facilitate this. As a business, we support any measures that will safeguard the quality of recyclable materials.”

However, David added: “It is clear that there needs to be more guidance about how enforcement of the regulations will be approached, as, for many, the concepts are far from easy to apply. The new rules start in January and businesses should be preparing now for the changes to be ready by the end of the year. But with no guidance yet available to help
waste producers or collectors understand what they will be required to do, there is a risk that many businesses will simply not be ready.”

Read the cover story in our November issue of clearview for full information on the changes due in January 2015, and the questions being raised by the industry.

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