UK Court holds that waste mingling is not prohibited by the Waste Framework Directive. Local authorities hold the key to optimal collection method.

In [2013] EWHC 425 (Admin) Campaign for Real Recycling, the High Court has rejected an argument that the Waste Framework Directive prohibits mixed kerbside collection of paper, metal, plastic and glass. The waste processing companies which are members of CRR, had essentially argued that the UK implementation of the Waste Framework Directive (‘WFD’) was faulty, because it leaves the consideration whether kerbside separate collection, is ‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’ (see the relevant sections of the WFD below), to be decided by local authorities. In CRR’s view, the UK should have made that assessment centrally, and then imposed it on local authorities. Justice Hickinbottom disagreed, holding that in the absence of instruction in the Directive, it was up to the Member States themselves to decide which authority makes the assessment under Articles 10 and 11 of the Directive.

Relevant provisions in the Directive, are:

Article 10


1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations, in accordance with Articles 4 and 13.

2. Where necessary to comply with paragraph 1 and to facilitate or improve recovery, waste shall be collected separately if technically, environmentally and economically practicable and shall not be mixed with other waste or other material with different properties.

Article 11

Re-use and recycling

1. Member States shall take measures, as appropriate, to promote the re-use of products and preparing for re-use activities, notably by encouraging the establishment and support of re-use and repair networks, the use of economic instruments, procurement criteria, quantitative objectives or other measures.

Member States shall take measures to promote high quality recycling and, to this end, shall set up separate collections of waste where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.

Subject to Article 10(2), by 2015 separate collection shall be set up for at least the following: paper, metal, plastic and glass.

(emphasis added)


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