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Judicial review rules comingling recycling acceptable

Comingled recycling in England and Wales can and does meet European Waste Framework Directive (WFD), a judicial review has ruled.

The legal challenge was brought against Defra and the Welsh Government by six members of the Campaign for Real Recycling.

The claimants assert that comingling recycling often creates materials unsuitable for reprocessing, but Mr Justice Hickinbottom broadly supported the Government’s position.

Cllr Mike Jones, chair of the LGA's Environment and Housing Board, said: “Today's announcement is great news for councils and means we can continue to work with our residents to collect the bins in a way that reflects local circumstances. The LGA has fought long and hard and we are delighted that the matter has now been resolved. 

“It's time for the waste sector to draw a line under this and let councils get on with the job of providing residents with an efficient, environmentally responsible and value for money waste service.”

CIWM president John Skidmore, added: “Common sense has prevailed in today's decision, but our industry's ability to deliver secondary resources at a quality demanded by our customers, remains one of our biggest and most urgent challenges. Now we can concentrate on putting our shoulder behind the MRF Codes of Practice and Quality Action Plans. 

“We need to use today's decision as a springboard for action and not an armchair to sit back and relax in.”

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: “This case has been useful in highlighting the issue of quality recycling and bringing it to the top of the agenda.

“CIWM has always maintained there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that the decision regarding the best way to collect recyclables should rest with the local authorities who provide the services. The decision also brings a welcome end to a period of uncertainty for local authorities.”

The Campaign for Real Recycling is considering an appeal.

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