This Update contains brief details of recent Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in municipal waste management, which have been published in the past month. 

Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet. All links are correct at the date of publication.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

The following topics are covered in this update:

   Biodegradable Waste    Recycling
   Municipal Waste    Waste Collection
   Permitting and Licensing    Waste Management


Biodegradable Waste

WRAP: Food waste in schools: this report was undertaken to understand more about which types of food are wasted and the reasons why this happens, in order to identify opportunities for schools to work with caterers and councils to find ways to reduce food waste. It concludes that a one size fits all approach to minimising food waste is not available as the reasons why food is wasted are wide ranging - they can be grouped as operational, situational, and behavioural. The research suggests some useful approaches in three main areas: cooking meals to order; improving the dining experience; and improving familiarity and appreciation of school meals. (11 February 2011)

CIWEM: Food waste disposers: this Policy Position Statement outlines the main issues relating to the use of food waste disposers (FWD) in the management of food waste from domestic kitchens. The Institution states that there is a need for a more diverse range of domestic options available for the disposal of food waste, in order to ensure that as many people as possible recycle this valuable waste product and divert it from landfill. The Government is encouraging the nationwide expansion of the capacity of anaerobic digesters, which can turn biodegradable waste into valuable renewable fuel and/or soil improver. CIWEM believes that while collecting food waste in caddies as part of a regular recycling collection may be effective in some cases, in others (such as in blocks of flats or in rural areas) a more effective solution would be to utilise FWDs.  (18 February 2011)

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Municipal Waste

DEFRA: Local authority collected waste management statistics for England – provisional quarter 1 of 2010/11: these statistics are based on data submitted by all local authorities in England to WasteDataFlow on the waste they collect and manage. They show that in the period July 2009 to June 2010: 

  • over 40% of household waste was sent for recycling, composting or reuse;
  • the generation of household waste continues to decrease - 0.3% reduction to 23.6m tonnes; and 
  • the tonnage of local authority collected waste being sent to landfill has decreased by 2.3% to 12.2m tonnes.
  • The statistics are provisional and the final data will be released in November 2011. (3 February 2011) 
DEFRA: Local authority collected waste – definition of terms: this note sets out the background to the change in terminology and definition of ‘municipal waste’ reporting in policy and statistical terms. It states that to remove ambiguity, future references to ‘municipal waste’ will refer to the new definition as described in the Landfill Directive, i.e. both household waste and that from other sources which is similar in nature and composition, which will include a significant proportion of waste generated by businesses and not collected by local authorities. (3 February 2011)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: South London waste company fined for lack of permit: a waste management company has been fined £3,000 with £2,000 costs and £15 victim surcharge by Croydon Magistrates’ Court for operating a waste site without a permit, in breach of reg.38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. (2 February 2011)

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SITA UK Ltd v Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority [2011] EWCA Civ 156 (CA): S appealed against the High Court's ruling that its procurement challenge was brought out of time.
S was an unsuccessful bidder in GMWDA’s tendering process for a PFI project to provide waste disposal facilities for Greater Manchester that used the negotiated procedure. In January 2007, GMWDA announced that V was its preferred bidder and that S would be its reserve bidder. The contract was not actually awarded until 8 April 2009. S claimed that after GMWDA had identified the preferred bidder and entered into negotiations, V's bid changed to such an extent that, in the absence of an opportunity being given for S to re-tender, it could not be said that V's bid was the most economically advantageous. S also claimed that G had failed to afford both tenderers equal treatment and to act with appropriate transparency. S contended that GMWDA had breached the Public Contracts Regulations and, after much correspondence had passed between S and GMWDA, S issued its claim in August 2009. The High Court ruled that S’s claim should be struck out on the basis that it had been brought outside the three month time limit, applying the decision of the ECJ in Uniplex (UK) Ltd v NHS Business Services Authority (C-406/08). The court found that S knew in April 2009 that the contract had been awarded in breach of the Regulations and the infringements it had identified in April 2009 allowed it to make the complaint it ultimately made. The fact that S later acquired knowledge of details of earlier infringements added nothing material.
The Court of Appeal held, dismissing S's appeal, that S’s claim was time-barred. The judge had applied the correct test in line with Uniplex and UK case law. S's letters showed that it was aware that GMWDA was in breach of its procurement obligations and that it had a potential claim. Nor could S rely on further breaches which later came to light - time did not start afresh where what was being relied upon to start time running again was a further breach of the same duty, whether it in fact occurred before or after the breaches already known. (24 February 2011)

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Council of the European Union: Draft Council Regulation establishing when scrap metal ceases to be waste under the Waste Directive: this draft Directive sets criteria that determine when iron, steel and aluminium scrap cease to be considered waste. Such scrap could be recycled for metal production if it is sufficiently pure, meets the technical requirements of the metal producing industry and does not lead to negative impacts on human health and the environment. The development of such end-of-waste criteria was provided for in the EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98. The Council has now submitted the text to the European Parliament. If the European Parliament does not oppose the draft act within two months, the Council will subsequently adopt the Regulation. (7 February 2011)

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Waste Collection

WRAP Wales: Kerbside collections options – Wales: this report by Eunomia studies collections in six Welsh local authorities, comparing the financial and environmental costs of different methods of kerbside recycling collections and identifying which methods generate the best outcomes. The findings will be used to inform the Municipal Sector Plan for Waste, scheduled to be launched on 10 March 2011. (8 February 2011)

Taxpayers’ Alliance: The number of bins each council collects: sets out the findings of research into the number of receptacles into which residents are required to sort their rubbish. The list shows that some councils collect recycling from a single bin whereas others require residents to sort a range of materials individually, meaning an increased number of bins. The average number of bins into which residents in the UK are required to sort their waste is four. Newcastle-under-Lyme has the highest number of bins for collection (nine) while Dumfries & Galloway and Isles of Scilly each only collect one. (17 February 2011)

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Waste Management

Draft Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011: these draft regulations implement the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 (WFD) in England and Wales. The revised WFD revises and replaces the Waste Framework Directive 2006/12,  the Waste Oils Directive 75/439 and the Hazardous Waste Directive 91/698. The provisions include:

  • a duty to apply the “waste hierarchy” as a priority order in waste prevention and management legislation and policy; and
  • a duty to set up separate collections of waste for paper, metal, plastic, and glass from 1 January 2015 where technically, environmentally and economically practicable, with a prohibition on mixing those wastes once separately collected.
  • Alongside the draft Regulations, DEFRA has issued an explanation of how the issues raised in the second consultation have been addressed. (9 February 2011)
CBI: Making ends meet - Maximising the value of waste: this report highlights the benefits of moving to a zero-waste economy. It urges the Government to be bold in its approach to waste policy and recognise its potential to deliver easy wins on a number of big policy areas from meeting climate change targets and bolstering energy security to helping unlock infrastructure investment. It recommends a cross-department approach from the Government and changes to the planning regime to deliver the investment needed in waste management infrastructure. (14 February 2011)

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