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Commingling exemption rule retains 'economic' element


Defra has denied reports that the word ‘economically’ will be removed from Teep regulations that allow local authorities to introduce commingled household recycling collections.

Under Teep, councils can be exempted from EU rules requiring separate collections if it is not ‘technically, environmentally or economically practicable’. A council’s claim through Teep has to be backed up by evidence, and many used consultants to bolster their case.

Resources minister Therese Coffey was reported last month saying the Teep regulations would change in order to “remove the excuse”.

Speaking at conference about MRFs in February, senior Environment Agency official Pandora Rene was also quoted as saying: “We’re going to take the economic bit out of Teep.”

But the move was not outlined in the consultation on consistent household recycling collections issued as part of the resources and waste strategy, and Teep appeared unchanged (see box below).

A Defra spokesperson told MRW: “We are not removing the economic part of Teep, but we are consulting on proposals to require all local authorities to collect the same range of dry materials and also to do this by separate collection, except where collecting materials together provides comparable quality or separate collection is not technically feasible, does not deliver the best environmental outcome or entails disproportionate cost taking into account environmental and health impacts of mixed collections.

”The changes proposed will be consistent with what is required in the [EU] circular economy package.”

Extract from Defra’s ’Consultation on consistency in household and business recycling collections in England’

Consistency will mean that all householders in England can recycle a common set of dry materials (commonly referred to as dry recyclable materials) and food waste. We believe that all local authorities should collect these dry recyclable materials, which would include plastic bottles and plastic pots tubs and trays, glass packaging (bottles and jars), paper and card, and metal packaging. It could also include food and drink cartons. At present, some of these types of dry recyclable materials are not collected consistently across local authorities in England.

We would expect local authorities to collect dry materials separately where this helps to increase quality, but the final decision on containers or bins used would be determined by local circumstances. Normally dry materials would be collected in one of following ways:

• All dry materials are collected separately; this is commonly referred to as multi-stream

• Paper being collected separately from other dry materials; this is commonly referred to as two-stream or twin-stream

• All dry materials are collected together; this is commonly referred to as commingled

Food waste would be collected separately from other wastes in each case.

This means that all householders would recycle the same materials but how they would do this would be determined at a local level, taking into account what is needed to achieve good quality and what is technically, economically and environmentally practicable.

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