Two waste industry bodies are issuing advice and information on collection regulations in the absence of official guidance from Defra.
From 1 January 2015 under the EU Waste Framework Directive, waste collectors must collect paper, glass, metal and plastic separately unless it is not technically, economically and environmentally practicable (TEEP) to do so.
The Resource Association (RA) is to publish a document in May with information on material specification requirements to help councils and waste management companies make decisions on collections.
The Environmental Services Association has also produced an information note for its members on separate collections of commercial waste, amid concerns over a lack of awareness that the regulations apply to businesses as much as they do to households.
The RA’s information pack will contain detailed requirements for recyclate materials, which reprocessors across the UK would make publicly available.
Chief executive Ray Georgeson (above) said: “We are half way through producing a fairly detailed piece of work, which will be very widely circulated that will present in a very accessible way as many of the details and quality specifications that the UK reprocessors can offer.
“Alongside the document we will also publish a table or a grid (…) and we will give you a view on what in our opinion works and what doesn’t work in terms of acceptable or not acceptable mixing of the materials.”
Georgeson stressed the document was neither TEEP guidance nor an attempt to diminish commingled collection systems.
“It’s a pragmatic exercise to provide the information that will tell you what happens when certain materials are mixed together when it comes to reprocessing, and then you will have to work it out for yourself,” he said.
ESA’s note says that while not all businesses will be in a position to have all reyclable materials separately collected, “commercial waste service providers should nevertheless offer separate collection to their business customers and provide it for those of them who want it and for whom it is a practical proposition”.
An ESA spokesperson said: “ESA produced this note as there has been a lot in the trade press about TEEP and local authorities responsibilities to provide separate (where viable) collections for householders.
“But very little has been made of the fact that the regulations apply to commercial (business) waste collections as well. As our members work with, and for, local authorities and business, the information note was a gentle reminder about where the rules apply, and that separate collection, where TEEP, should apply to commercial and industrial collections, as well as household collections.”
Defra has confirmed it will not produce further guidance on the matter. Resource minister Dan Rogerson said advice will come from local authorities working in partnership with waste management companies.
Georgeson said the industry was now picking up on this suggestion.