European Examples

With the Judicial Review highlighting the differences between recycling systems in the UK and the rest of Europe, Nick Livermore learns lessons in waste collection from five other EU member states.

This article was taken from Issue 70

The European Commission’s (EC) revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD) states: ‘there is an obligation to have in place by 2015 separate collection for paper, metal, plastic and glass’. It’s a clause that has been particularly contentious in just one member state: the UK. UK law allows co-mingled collections, requiring source separation only when it’s necessary to facilitate or improve recovery rates, but Defra and the Welsh Government’s interpretation of the rWFD has been the subject of much contention. Indeed, the case between members of the Campaign for Real Recycling and the government brewed for quite some time before its eventual completion this March; in 2011, Karolina Fraus, Team Leader on waste management policies and legislation at the EC’s Environment Directorate General, told Resource: “In most countries, there isn’t a problem with the interpretation of what is meant by ‘separate collection’. I think it’s a very UK-specific issue linked to co-mingled collection that makes this provision sound unspecific.”