From 1st January 2015, waste paper, metal, plastic and glass must be collected separately where ‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’ and ‘appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors’.
The requirement has come from the revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008 and has been transposed into UK law in the Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012. In Scotland, this law was introduced in January 2014.
There is no statutory guidance on how the legislation should be interpreted which has caused significant debate in the industry. The legislation affects all waste producers and will be overseen by the Environment Agency which is due to advise how this will be regulated later this year.
Prior to 1st January 2015, waste producers will need to review their waste practices and how their waste is collected to ensure they meet the new legislation. Commingled collections are acceptable under the regulations where separate collection is not technically, economically or environmentally practicable, known as ‘TEEP’. Waste producers will need to keep clear evidence to support the rationale behind their decisions and carry out regular reviews to ensure continuing compliance.