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WLGA calls for greater certainty on recycling collections

01 August 2012

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has today highlighted the need for increased certainty over how recycling services in Wales are organised and funded in the future.

Following recent revisions to European waste legislation and guidance, the WLGA’s call forms part of a wider debate on the different approaches employed by local councils in the delivery of their recycling services.

While some council schemes are based on collecting mixed, also known as commingled recyclable materials that are then sent on to mechanical sorting facilities, other councils sort recycling by hand into individual materials such as glass, metal and paper at the kerbside.

This ‘commingled versus kerbside’ debate has received increased attention following a call for a Judicial Review over the way DEFRA and the Welsh Government have interpreted EU legislation, and specifically whether commingled recycling services comply.

A WLGA Spokesperson commented:

“The confusion over the future viability of commingled collection schemes has the potential to have far reaching consequences for both councils and their local communities, as around half of Welsh councils currently operate some form of commingled collection service.

“Local government in Wales fully supports the broad aims of the Welsh Government’s waste strategy, Towards Zero Waste, but waste is a complex issue and requires a huge amount of planning and investment not only in machinery and equipment, but also in awareness programmes that help residents to understand and participate in their local schemes. If we are to maintain local support and limit disruption to our residents in the future, we have a duty to work together to solve the collections issue as a matter of some urgency.

“This is being addressed through initiatives such as the Collaborative Change Programme where Welsh Government, local councils and WRAP are working together to develop a detailed package of plans that will help councils meet the ambitious recycling targets of 52% by 2013 and 70% by 2025. To maintain the upward trend that earlier this year saw Wales achieve the highest ever recycling rate registered in the UK, local councils need reassurance over long term Welsh Government funding and support.

“It is hoped that a prescriptive approach to future funding can be avoided. With local councils facing financial penalties for any failure to meet recycling targets in Wales, they must be free to shape their support for national recycling targets by developing locally determined collection services that reflect the specific needs of the local council and the communities they serve.”

For more information contact: Stuart Hodges


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