August 16, 2012 at 10:04 am
A new EU directive could mean that many councils in Wales will have to stop operating single-bag recycling collections in 2015.
About half of the councils in Wales currently operate single-bag collections – also known as co-mingling – where residents put all of their waste to be recycled into one bag and the council then sorts it.
However, the new directive states that this practice will have to stop and that instead residents will have to separate the waste to be recycled themselves.
The major problem with this is that many of the councils have invested heavily in sorting facilities which will effectively become redundant if the sorting is carried out by residents instead.
On top of this, the councils will have to invest more money in new vehicles which are capable of carrying out kerb-side collections.
Additionally, many councils currently receive grants from the Welsh government to help with their recycling. However, if they do not follow the directives then they will not be able to get access to this money.
Despite the concerns, others have welcomed the directive saying that co-mingling is not effective and that items that should be recycled often end up being wasted due to being damaged or dirty.
Wales has very impressive recycling levels and some of the most ambitious targets in Europe. Its current recycling rate is nearly 50% and it has a target of 70% by 2025.
There are fears that these targets may be affected if all residents have to start sorting out their own recycling.