The Environment Agency has sent guidance to local authorities asking them to report the final destination of materials they collect for recycling.
The guidance explains that Waste Disposal Authorities need to report the final destination of waste handled in the UK via their WasteDataFlow returns. The WDF is a web-based system for municipal waste data reporting by UK local authorities to Government. The guidance states that commercial confidentiality is not an excuse to withhold final destination of waste information.
The document explains that WDAs should take full responsibility to make sure waste is being diverted from landfill and being recycled and recovered legitimately.
The EA believe that a number of WDAs are not providing final destination details based on lack of clarity on what is required and the inability to report due to claims of commercial confidentiality from their contractors.
When recyclates are destined for export we expect that this will be the final reprocessor or material recovery facility prior to export, the EA guidance stated.
The Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (LATS) requires the EA to audit the performance of WDAs and the EA believe that it can only do this by having information about the final destination of waste.
The Campaign for Real Recycling welcomed the EAs guidance. Media officer Phil Hurst said: For too long the bad practice of a few has been undermining the efforts of many local authorities who have been recycling responsibly. The final destination of material sent for recycling is crucial to defining whether it has been recycled or not. This new reporting requirement will greatly help local authorities who practice good recycling but who have been tarred with the same brush as those who were unable or unwilling to report the destination of their materials.
We hope that the term final destination does not include material that has been delivered to a reprocessor but at a later date rejected them because of contamination problems. This reject material has, in our opinion, not been recycled or recover legitimately and should not be included in the final destination tonnages.