New Recycling Regulations Come Into Force

Friday, January 9, 2015

On the 1st January 2015, new regulations came into effect that place a duty on waste collectors in England and Wales to separately collect recyclates, and not to mix materials that have been separately collected. 

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.

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

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 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.”

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