Going separate ways

England and Wales now have the same legal requirement for local authorities to separately collect certain dry recyclables – but uptake of separate collections in the two countries has been vastly different. Annie Kane finds out why

This article was taken from Issue 80

Here’s some food for thought: in 2012, a law was laid requiring all local authorities in England and Wales to separately collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass from 1
January 2015, where necessary to facilitate or improve recovery, and where technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP). But, to date, not one English council has moved from co-mingled to separate collections. Why?

Ignorance cannot be the excuse. The law has been knocking about in one form or another for more than six years – in 2008, the European Commission’s revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD) required member states to set up separate collections of ‘at least’ paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015, where TEEP and ‘appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors’. It was subsequently transposed into English and Welsh law in 2011.