A campaign that advocated the separate collection of materials has been wound down, but its co-ordinator says he is still considering challenging councils that adopt commingled systems.
Andy Moore, former organiser of the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR) (right), has written to some local authorities, threatening them with legal action if they decide to renew or enter contracts for commingled collection after the European Waste Framework Directive comes into effect in 2015 and mandates the separation of materials.
He told MRW he sent letters to a “number of councils”, after hearing they were in the process of taking decisions on collections.
The last paragraph of the letters reads: “I can well understand that [X council] may not relish a starring part in such a case and the national attention it would bring. If so, I would urge you if at all possible to defer and reconsider this decision to adopt a commingled approach to recycling collection.”
Moore acknowledged that the correspondence was strongly worded. “I wanted to make clear that I was not simply giving them a piece of free legal advice,” he said.
But he stressed that any action against councils would be brought forward by him and his company UK Recyclate, and not by the CRR, which has now ended. The activity would be supported by funding unrelated to the CRR, he added.
“UK Recyclate has resources at its disposal to pursue legal action if required. This money does not come from the former reprocessors claimants,” he said.
The CRR was never a legal entity, Moore pointed out, but a name given to a group of six organisations in the reprocessing sector, led by UK Recyclate, which lobbied the Government and local authorities to improve the quality of recycling in the UK.
It gained momentum in 2011, when it obtained a judicial review (JR) on Defra and the Welsh Ministries’ original transposition of the European Waste Framework Directive into English law.
The JR challenged that Defra had included commingling as a form of separate collection.
In 2012, Defra’s amendment to the document resulted in the current Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, which stipulates that named recyclable material should be collected separately where necessary and where it is “technically, environmentally and economically practicable”.
The CRR argued the transposition was still not adequate and pressed ahead with the JR, but the judge ruled in favour of Defra and the Welsh Ministers in March 2013.
Moore said the CRR has been inactive since June 2013, and has been closed down after completing the paperwork related to the JR.
“The Campaign for Real Recycling is no more,” he said.