Agency caught unawares on recycling exports

The Environment Agency is rapidly having to review its enforcement position on the export of materials from co-mingled household recycling collections, following intervention by Dutch regulators who have intercepted and returned consignments of contaminated waste paper over the past few weeks. The growth in UK exports is linked to recent investment in municipal recycling collections.

Evidence that there was a problem with the quality of waste shipments from UK recycling operations emerged last summer, when IMPEL, the network of EU environmental regulators, issued a report from its Seaport Project on transfrontier shipment (TFS) of waste. The study revealed widespread irregularities and gaps in enforcement activities around the EU.

IMPEL’s report, published last June, included the results of three inspections at UK por

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