The European Commission has issued a directive which is binding on us as your local authority, saying we must move to 'separate' kerbside sorting methods after 31 December 2014.
At present, around half of the councils in Wales allow people to put all their recycling in the same container, to be sorted later.
These councils have expressed concern about the potentially dramatic impact that any such change could have on recycling rates, resident participation and costs of altering the service (including containers and vehicles).
We will comply with the statutory requirements and environmental policies of the Welsh Government (WG), as will every other Welsh local authority.
The WG is responsible for implementing the requirements of Article 11 (1), paragraph 2, of the revised Waste Framework Directive in their waste strategies for municipal waste in Wales. It is likely to determine by statute, policy or financial grant, the eventual method of municipal recycling collection after 1 January 2015.
Whilst accepting WG requirements, it would be premature to consider any change from the existing successful co-mingled collection service. This has accelerated us in the Vale Council from failing to meet WG 2009/10 target of 40 per cent recycling, to being the third-best improved Welsh council in increased municipal recycling. Discussions are continuing, and it is possible that local authorities will still be able to meet Article 11 through a co-mingled collection service.
At the Vale Council, we have said we will monitor our kerbside recycling collection methods. Whilst co-mingling is the best option presently, we are working with the WG within its Collaborative Change Programme (CCP) to determine a longer-term business plan. That will include all environmental factors that could result in future revised recycling collection services. The work being carried out as part of the CCP programme will ideally position the council to adopt to any future change to meet the EU Directive requirements.