News in brief (22/03/23)

With news on: Defra ‘will continue to consider’ how DRS will interact across nations; Hertfordshire to restrict HWRC use for non-residents; Recycling Heroes 2023 announced; Londonderry man guilty for waste offending.

Defra ‘will continue to consider’ how DRS will interact across nations

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said that it “will continue to consider how the deposit return schemes (DRS) in the UK and Republic of Ireland will interact”.

The department said this in its collections and packaging reforms newsletter, where it answers questions around the sector’s current affairs.

Defra said it will ‘continue to consider’ how the different schemes will interact (picture: Shutterstock)

This was in response to a question about how the schemes work across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Defra outlined that “operational decisions on how the schemes will work together will be the responsibility of the relevant scheme administrators once established”.

The department continued that it is working together with the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) in Northern Ireland to roll the scheme out from 1 October 2025.

Both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are launching their schemes at different times. The former set to introduce the DRS in August 2023. The Republic of Ireland is preparing for its scheme to go live in February 2024.

Hertfordshire to restrict HWRC use for non-residents

Hertfordshire council has confirmed plans to limit the use of its recycling centre to non residents.

Users will be asked to bring proof of address when using any of the county’s 16 facilities.

Amey previously held the HWRC contract but quit in 2020 after losing more than £1 million a year

An approved report which went before the council’s cabinet on Monday, 20 March, showed that around 36% of users at its site are non-residents.

The policy to restrict their access will “provide some mitigation against increased costs of c. £1m in the haulage of  materials from 2023/24 and to improve the customer journey for Hertfordshire residents”.It is estimated the restrictions will save the council around £433,000.

In 2021/22, the network handled c.80,000 tonnes of waste received in excess of 1.6 million visits.The costs of operation of the service in 2021/22 was £5.5m. The budget for 2022/23 is £5.65m.

Staff at the gates will be asked to be mindful of the initial few weeks of implementation and be lenient in restricting access for those that do not have identification but can provide a postcode that registers as being from Hertfordshire.

The council will confirm an implementation date soon.

Simon Aries, director of transport, waste and environment at Hertfordshire county council, said: “Like many other council-run services, our recycling centres are experiencing additional costs and it is only prudent that we look at all possible forms of mitigation for Hertfordshire taxpayers who are currently paying for waste arising outside of Hertfordshire.”

Recycling Heroes 2023 announced

The Global Recycling Foundation (GRF) has announced the winners of their Recycling Heroes 2023 award as well as Creative Innovation award to mark this year’s Global Recycling Day.

The GRF said there were ten winners for the Recycling Heroes award of $1,000 each and ten winners for the Creative Innovation award of $250 each.These were selected from those who have “demonstrated creativity and innovation to promote the value of recycling in the toughest of economic climates”.

Global Recycling Day takes place every year on 18 March

The GRF explained that this year’s focus was on recognising creativity in promoting resource efficiency, waste reduction and increased use of ‘the seventh resource’.

Some of the winners of the Recycling Heroes included RecycleMich, Austria’s first recycling app rewarding users for recycling correctly, the Dutch coffee pods and teabags recycling initiative Green Deal, Johnny Tungsubutra from Bangkok, Thailand, who initiated a Recycling Pledge at his school and more.

Amongst others, the awards for Creative Innovation went to Svetlana Marusenko from Hungary for teaching fellow students at the University of Pécs on how to recycle, Why Idea, a Tanzania-based project which aims to recycle wastepaper to make furniture and Italian LCD Group, which creates unique works of art using scrap metal, including decorative table lamps.

Londonderry man guilty for waste offending

A 62-year old man has been found guily on three counts of waste offending, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) has said. 

The regulator explained that Thomas McGlinchey, from Belfield Park, Londonderry, who was a director of Brickkiln Waste Ltd, was found guilty in Londonderry Crown Court sitting in Coleraine.

Northern Ireland’s Environment Agency officers carried out an intrusive survey under warrant

The department outlined that after Northern Ireland’s Environment Agency officers observed a lorry depositing controlled waste at the lands off the Carmoney Road, Londonderry, an intrusive survey under warrant revealed approximately 7,600 tonnes of non-compliant waste.

While the company was authorised at the time, the receiving site was not authorised to to accept the waste streams identified during the department surveys, which included household and commercial waste as well as construction and demolition waste, Daera said.

The regulator added that this type of waste should be treated in an authorised materials recycling facility or disposed of at an appropriately authorised landfill. The act of infilling the waste at this unauthorised area ultimately undercuts the legitimate waste industry, evades landfill tax and leads to environmental degradation, it explained.

The department concluded that sentencing is due to take place on the 28 April at Coleraine Crown Court.

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