Scottish study into recyclate quality

25th June 2013

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  • Pollution & Waste Management



Researchers are to examine the levels of contamination in recyclable waste to inform the enforcement of new waste rules in Scotland

Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, from 1 January 2014 recyclable materials, including glass, plastic and metal, must be collected either separately or in co-mingled collections that achieve the same low level of contamination.

To comply with the legislation, local authorities and waste management firms must show that co-mingled collections produce the same “high quality” recyclate as separate collections.

To ensure the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is enforcing the new rules correctly, researchers are examining recyclate collected from households, businesses and industrial sites to establish the level of contamination in separated collections.

Iain Gulland, director of the Zero Waste Scotland, the government funded programme that commissioned the study, confirmed that the research was important to the Scottish government’s plants to develop a more circular economy, as well as for organisations affected by the new regulations.

“This is an important study which will give operators of commingled collections a clear indication of the standards they might be expected to meet to comply with the new regulations,” he said.

Sepa’s principal policy officer, Gary Walker, agreed: “We will require good baseline information to help target our regulatory efforts. This study will also enable the local authorities and waste management contractors who provide collection services to determine whether their collection systems are sufficiently robust to deliver the quantity and quality of recyclate required.”


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