Amendments to the Waste Regulations (England and Wales) on the separate collection of recyclables has been laid before Parliament.
However, the move has come in for criticism for happening on 19 July when Parliament was already in recess.
Following a consultation on the regulations, after Defra and the Welsh Government recognised it needed to amend the regulations as a result of the Judicial Review on the transposition of the requirements of the revised Waste Framework Directive on the separate collection of paper, glass, metal and plastic recycling by 2015.
Both Defra and the Welsh Government acknowledged that the existing regulations should be amended as commingled collection of recycling with subsequent separation is not the same as separate collection.
As a result, an amendment has been introduced that prioritises separate collection of waste. It reads:
“Duties in relation to collection of waste
13.-(1) This regulation applies from 1st January 2015.
(2) Subject to paragraph (4), an establishment or undertaking which collects waste paper, metal, plastic or glass must do so by way of separate collection.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), every waste collection authority must, when making arrangements for the collection of waste paper, metal, plastic or glass, ensure that those arrangements are by way of separate collection.
(4) The duties in this regulation apply where separate collection –
(a) is necessary to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations in accordance with Articles 4 and 13 of the Waste Framework Directive and to facilitate or improve recovery; and
(b) is technically, environmentally and economically practicable.”.
An additional amendment to Regulation 14 has also been made. This now reads:
“In regulation 14, for paragraph (2) substitute-
(2) This duty applies where keeping waste separate is necessary to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations in accordance with Articles 4 and 13 of the Waste Framework Directive and to facilitate or improve recovery.”
These amendments will come into force on 1 October 2012 and guidance will be introduced to explain items that cannot be included in the regulations.
However, the decision to place the new regulations before Parliament during the summer recess has been criticised by the Resource Association.
Chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “Given that this issue has been subject to Judicial Review and that the amendments have been laid before Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales during a period of recess we would welcome proper Parliamentary scrutiny of what remains for many a contentious issue.
“It remains critically important that Defra’s plans for the MRF Code of Practice and its Quality Action Plan demonstrate convincingly that the spirit of the guidance from the European Commission is maintained, namely that where commingled collection of recyclables is still deemed to be a preferred method of collection that the consequent sorting and processing of materials reaches source separation equivalence in order to satisfy the requirements of the Directive.
“At present, many UK MRFs do not achieve this and we believe that it is critical that the outcome of the deliberations about quality recycling and the MRF Code of Practice result in a new regime that drives MRF sorted material quality upwards rather than simply delivering a system that maintains the status quo but in an accredited form.”