Europe – The EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD) will probably allow co-mingled collections so long as a high quality is achieved, the European Commission has indicated in a guidance document.
The publication says that co-mingled collections can count towards the Directive’s requirement for member states to introduce separate collections of paper, metals, glass and plastics by 2015, with a quality standard as the deciding factor. Meanwhile, it is also recognised that such operations have to be ‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’.
DG Environment’s Director General Karl Falkenberg, who contributed to the guidance document, emphasises: ‘If subsequent separation can achieve high-quality recycling similar to that achieved with separate collection, then co-mingling would be in line with Article 11 and the principles of the waste hierarchy.’
According to Mr Falkenberg, the benchmark of ‘high-quality recycling’ of separately-collected single waste streams has to be examined carefully before implementation. He adds that the text is intended to ‘assist both national authorities and economic operators with the aforementioned legislation’.
Although not legally binding, the document confirms what the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government have been advocating with regard to co-mingled collections.
The UK government plans to share its revised Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 with the public over the weeks to come, together with UK-specific guidance. The timing of the release is subject to a Judicial Review delivered by six members of the Campaign for Real Recycling. This last phase is set to commence on July 17.