New Recycling Collection Legislation Hailed In With The New Year

From 1 January 2015, new regulations have come into effect that place a duty on waste collectors to separately collect recyclates, and not to mix materials that have been separately collected. 

This amendment is aimed at helping to achieve higher quality recyclates in the UK.

All organisations involved in waste collection are now required to establish separate collection for paper, metal, plastic and glass, as long as this is what is necessary to achieve high quality recycling and it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) to collect the four materials separately.

Separating materials for recycling helps avoid contamination and ensures that they can be recycled to a higher standard, creating more valuable products and more opportunities for manufacturers to make use of the materials.

Environment Agency – “Our aim is to help collectors to achieve compliance, but to be robust with those who deliberately ignore their obligations”

Whilst the regulations set separate collection as the default position, they don’t prohibit the use of mixed or commingled collections of paper, metal, plastic and glass as long as it results in a similar quantity of high-quality recyclates, to that achievable by separate collection, or if separate collection isn’t TEEP.

In a draft briefing note, which confirms how it will be overseeing the requirement to separately collect recyclable materials, as set out under the English and Welsh Waste Regulations, the by the Environment Agency states: “From January 2015 we will start to apply the regime. We will ask operators to supply information on their current collection methods by 31 March 2015 and we will maintain a database to update that information.

“Our aim is to help collectors to achieve compliance, but to be robust with those who deliberately ignore their obligations.”


A Waste Regulations Routemap was unveiled in April 2104 to help support local authorities in assessing their compliance with the new waste regulations.

The Routemap was unveiled by a working group comprising members of local authority waste networks (coordinated through the Waste Network Chairs), the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and WRAP.

The Route Map provides important information on the regulations relevant to separate collections of recyclable waste.

The document is not guidance, according to the working group, but instead addresses the key questions that local authorities will need to consider when considering whether or not their service meets these requirements and, where necessary, in assessing TEEP.

The Routemap was been published in response to Defra announcing that it would not issue further guidance (See CIWM Journal Online story) on the subject of TEEP.

“In the absence of official Defra guidance, this ‘Routemap’ could be a useful support tool for local authorities when assessing whether their collection arrangements satisfy the legal requirements and to assist with future decision-making,” CIWM’s chief executive Steve Lee said at the time of the Routemap’s launch.

“It offers the opportunity for local authorities to carry out their assessments in a consistent way that will stand up to scrutiny, and a common framework for those who wish to work together and share approaches.

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