The WYG consultancy has revealed that the collection systems it examined at a number of councils have all passed the TEEP test for commingling, with one director claiming it would be “bonkers” for some local authorities to go to a four-stream system.
Len Attrill, project director at WYG, told a conference in London that the consultancy had analysed collection methods adopted by local authorities in East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent in light of the implementation of the EU revised framework directive next year.
The regulations mandate the separate collection of materials unless it is not technically, environmentally or economically practicable to do so – an argument known as the TEEP test.
Attrill, left, said that all the systems reviewed had passed such test. “For those councils it is not technically, economically or environmentally practicable to collect the four materials as separate streams.”
He said in most cases the need for commingled collections was clear. “It would be bonkers, financially and environmentally and in some cases technically as well, for them to go for a four-stream system.”
WYG’s assessments were carried out following the Route Map produced by a WRAP-led consortium.
Attrill described the document as the best guidance available on the matter and said it will be regarded as good practice by the Environment Agency, which will enforce the regulations.
WYG modelled what would be the quantity and quality of materials collected and costs for the councils if they adopted a four-stream model.
A significant factor emerging from the analysis was that commingled options contributed to reducing the cost of treatment, for example in terms of landfill tax, as a result of the higher volume of recyclables collected. They also enabled councils to capture a wider range of materials.
The technical argument emerged in a minority of TEEP assessments, according to Attrill. For example, he pointed out that councils where most properties were flats could experience traffic congestion as a result of the increased number of vehicles required for separate collections.
“We think commingled is a legitimate [collection] methodology, we’ve always done so,” said Attrill.