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Campaign for Real Recycling seeks judicial review over commingled inclusion in Waste Framework Directive

The Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR) says it will seek a judicial review over the inclusion of commingled collection systems in the transposition of the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) into English law.

In the draft of the WFD, which was laid before Parliament on 8 February, the text states: “This regulation makes provision for the collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass by way of separate collection (which includes commingled collection) in order to promote high quality recycling.”

“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.”

In this context, commingled collection is defined by the text as “the collection of waste streams intended for recycling together with each other but separately from other waste”.

The CRR, which campaigns for kerbside sorting collections, claims that the inclusion of commingling is “contrary to the wording and the spirit of the WFD and therefore is not a transposition of it.”

CRR chair Mal Williams said: “We will be questioning Defra’s evidence base for the inclusion of commingling. We will also be pointing at the internal inconsistencies within Regulation 12 of the transposition legislation as currently drafted. For a start, there is no definition for commingled material in the reference documents of the rWFD.”

Williams said he was unable to comment further, and added that legal advice to the CRR suggests they have a “very strong case”.

A letter from Defra’s WFD unit to stakeholders stated: “In line with the stage two consultation proposals, the draft Regulations provide that commingled collection (i.e. the collection together of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass but separately from the collection of other types of non-recyclable waste) is a valid form of ‘separate collection’ for the purposes of the regulations transposing the WFD. The wording of the draft regulations on this point has been amended since the stage two consultation to add clarity.”

A Defra spokesman said: “We have based our interpretation of the Directive on robust legal advice, and have kept the Commission informed of how we intend to implement it, especially regarding the role that different collection systems may play.”

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