The Environment Agency has published a briefing note and guidance on the separate collection of four dry recyclable streams: paper, glass, plastic and metals ahead of the new waste regulations that will come into effect on 1 January 2015.
The Agency says it will be writing directly to councils and businesses in a phased approach in the New Year, but in the meantime the briefing note has been circulated, despite it being just over a week until the regulations come into force.
In its letter to local authorities and waste management companies, the Agency says: “The aim of the regulations is to help maximise the economic opportunities and environmental benefits associated with higher quality recycling… New collection obligations apply from January 2015. They require the separate collection of four specific dry recyclable wastes; paper, glass, plastics and metals where:
1. it is necessary to produce high quality recyclates, and
2. it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable to do so.
“Collectors are expected to ensure in all cases that their customers can avoid putting paper, plastic, metal or glass in the same collection container as their general waste. In addition, those materials should be collected separately from each other, subject to the above two tests. Separated recyclables must not be re-mixed.
“We will write to collectors in 2015 asking them to submit information on current collection methods. Where you do not currently collect these materials separately, we will ask how you have applied the two tests. We will assess whether any improvements are necessary.”
The briefing note and guidance is available here
Responding to the publication of the briefing note, the ESA’s recycling policy advisor, Jakob Rindegren, was positive: “We are pleased to see that the Environment Agency has finally published its briefing note for the separate collection of recyclable material. This note should help to give some guidance to our members and local authorities, not least on the Agency’s approach to enforcing the new requirements.
“ESA has worked closely with the Agency on the development of the briefing note, which we feel provides a reasonable overview of the new obligations for local authorities. There is however little steer for producers of business waste. Our Members will of course continue to work closely with their commercial customers to help them comply with the changing rules.
“We are also pleased to see that the Welsh government has produced statutory guidance setting out the requirements for separate collection from January 2015. This guidance shows that the Welsh government is willing to engage with the resources industry and continue to show leadership on waste matters, which is welcomed.”