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Commission guidance extends to co-mingled collections

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.

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