Wales launches new guidance on waste collections

The Welsh Government has unveiled a consultation on new waste collection guidance that aims to help councils and businesses understand what recycling services they are legally obligated to provide under waste law.

The draft statutory guidance on separate waste collections has been launched by the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies, to “support organisations and businesses affected by new European Union legal requirements for the separate collection of four waste materials – paper, metal, plastic and glass”.

The regulations state that from January 2015 separate collections of at least paper, metal, plastic and glass are required where they are technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) and appropriate to meet ‘the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors’.

Local authorities have been waiting for steps and guidance from the Government on the definition of ‘separately collected’ within the context of TEEP from the start of this year. However, Defra said it will not be publishing guidance on the matter.

WRAP has also recently launched a ‘Waste Regulations Route Map’.

Speaking about the new guidance on separate waste collections, Davies said: “I want it to be as simple as possible for everyone in Wales to recycle the four materials to a high quality, so we can continue to improve our recycling rates and continue to lead the way with the highest recycling rates in the UK.

“Increasing the quantity and the quality of materials available for recycling will ensure that Welsh councils and businesses can get a better price for what they collect. It will help to grow Wales’ market for recycled materials which will pay more for quality resources, which can only benefit Welsh companies.

“This is why our overarching strategy, Towards Zero Waste, lays out a policy of separate collection for recyclable waste. It’s vital that Welsh councils and businesses are clear on their responsibilities so that they can plan effectively for next year.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said that separating materials for recycling avoids contamination and ensures that they can be recycled to a higher standard, creating more valuable products and more opportunities for Welsh manufacturers to make use of the materials.

Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson added: “We welcome the publication of this draft statutory guidance and the associated formal consultation with stakeholders.

“Clearly, this work has been a long time in gestation, but it is very welcome to see the Welsh Government providing leadership to local government in Wales and the wider recycling and resource management sectors.

“In that regard, we also welcome the work commissioned from Eunomia for the Waste Network Chairs, LWARB and WRAP on the ‘Waste Regulations Route Map’ and commend this work to local councils in England. If this route map is followed thoroughly by local councils, it should be of value in ensuring their decision-making processes are robust. Taking good advice and being thorough will be the key, but this work should be welcomed by councils in the absence of statutory guidance from Defra.

“The Resource Association will be making its own response to the challenge set by Resources Minister Dan Rogerson MP for industry to step up and support councils in relation to their need to interpret TEEP. We will shortly publish comprehensive information from many UK reprocessors in the form of a Quality Specifications Chart, which will guide councils and others through what ‘high-quality recycling’ means to a UK reprocessor.

“In addition, we will be providing information on the impact (or otherwise) of the mixing of certain combinations of materials on the value of the recyclate offered to the reprocessor.”

Liz Gyekye

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie