Our way of recycling should be safe – for now

Copied from Local Government Chronicle
Be aware of new recycling regulations
11 March, 2014 | By Andrew Bird

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs recently published the long-awaited materials recovery facility regulations and a summary of responses from last year’s consultation.

The regulations aim to drive up the quality of both materials entering such facilities and the output of materials sold on for reprocessing.

A mandatory code of practice will come into effect this autumn, requiring all facilities processing more than 1,000 tonnes of material to sample and report on inputs and the various materials streams resulting from sorting and separation.

While I think the regulations could have gone further, I welcome their introduction.

They will serve to increase confidence in the purchasing of materials from MRFs by reprocessors, supporting the move towards a more circular economy.

The regulations will be enforced by the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales through one pre-arranged inspection and one unannounced inspection each year.

So what will the code mean for councils?

It should enable them and waste companies to demonstrate greater transparency and provide mechanisms which help reassure residents that the efforts they put into recycling result in high-quality materials.

It will also help reassure that the commingling of recycling collections can deliver high-quality materials, and help to provide a more robust monitoring framework to assess whether commingled collections meet the requirements of the revised Waste Framework Directive, or TEEP.

So what is TEEP?

In essence it refers to it being technically, environmentally and economically practicable to collect each material separately.

Technically practicable means that separate collection may be implemented through systems developed and proven to function in practice.

Environmentally practicable means the added value of ecological benefits justifies possible negative environmental effects of separate collection.

Economically practicable refers to separate collections that do not cause excessive costs in comparison with the treatment of a non-separated waste stream, taking into account the added value of recovery and recycling and the principle of proportionality.

If you are not currently aware of the implications of the revised Waste Framework directive and its implications for your authority, you need to consider them urgently, and particularly if you are considering changes to the way you collect materials for recycling.

Here are the articles pertinent to Waste Collection Authorities:

Article 4 – Waste hierarchy

Article 10 – Recovery. Paragraph 2 – first mention of waste needing to be collected separately to facilitate or improve recovery if it is TEEP.

Article 11 – Re-use and recycling – about promoting re-use of products and high-quality recycling

Article 13 – Protection of human health and the environment

Article 15 – Responsibility for waste management

If you are unaware of the implications of the revised directive and its implications for your authority, you need to consider them urgently, particularly if you are changing the way you collect materials for recycling.

These requirements come into force in 2015, so decisions taken now and in the future need to be robust.

Andrew Bird, chair, Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee

See what can happen when you have wheelie bins!

Idle dustmen caught out
By Telegraph Reporter

RUBBISH collectors were caught overloading a shop’s wheelie bin so they could avoid taking it away.

CCTV footage shows the two dustmen adding cardboard to the large bin before putting a black bag on top of the lid. They then photographed their work so they had “proof” that the bin was overloaded.

When Iftikhar Ahmed, the owner of Dars Express convenience store in Cambridge, who shares the bin with a Chinese restaurant, called the council to ask why the rubbish had not been collected, he was told that the authority had photographic evidence that the bin was overloaded.

Mr Ahmed said: “I could not believe what I was seeing. It is totally and utterly ridiculous. We checked our CCTV and couldn’t believe our eyes.

“This is a total disgrace and God knows how many others this has been done to. These lazy workers just could not be bothered to empty the bin.”

Jas Lally, Cambridge city council’s head of refuse, said: “We have written to the owner of the premises and apologised for this poor service which is inexcusable.

“Arrangements are being made to investigate this in accordance with the council’s disciplinary policy.”

Mixed recycling case dismissed by judge

Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
6 March, 2013 | By Neil Roberts

A judge has dismissed the claim brought by members of the Campaign for Real Recycling that sought restrictions on commingled collections, according to the Environmental Services Association.

The claimants had argued Defra and the Welsh Government had not properly transposed the European revised Waste Directive Framework in the Waste Regulations (England and Wales), in particular rules on when commingled collections are allowed.

They argued commingled collections do not produce high quality recyclate while waste firms Biffa and Veolia released statements warned that a victory would force councils to switch to sorting recycling on the kerbside wasting taxpayers money and damaging recycling rates.

ESA said the judge, Mr Justice Hickinbottom, found the governments had properly interpreted European law and that the obligation to set up separate collection of paper, metal, plastic and glass from 2015 applies only where it is necessary to ensure waste undergoes recovery operations and to facilitate and improve recovery and is also technically, environmentally and economically practicable.

ESA’s director general, Barry Dennis told LGC’s sister publication Materials Recycling World: “The ESA has always believed that both the directive and the revised Defra regulations recognise that decisions over local collection methods are complex and that local discretion over the format of recycling collections is needed to ensure that the Directive’s objectives are met. We are therefore pleased that the judge, having examined the matter in great depth, has taken the same view.

“ESA members can now get on with the challenge of working with their local authority customers to select the most appropriate collection system locally. This is vital if we are to continue to make significant increases in recycling rates, so that as much of our waste as possible is returned to productive use.”

The legal action did force the governments to revise the regulations last year to require separate collections only where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and necessary to meet the required standards of reprocessors.

But the CRR rejected that revision as an inadequate transposition of the EU law which demands: “measures to promote high quality recycling” and “separate collections of waste where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.”

The judge also dismised an application by the claimants to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.