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The “Waste Exports. A Good Practice Guide for Local Authorities”, released by the Environment Agency (EA), has been published to help local officers, and those who work on their behalf, stop UK waste from being exported illegally.

Produced by the European Pathway to Zero Waste (EPOW) project, a partnership formed by the Environment Agency and the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), the 36-page guide contains useful information about recycling facilities within the UK, demonstrates good practice, and advises local authorities on how to remain compliant with appropriate legislation and controls when exporting waste for recycling.

According to the EPOW guide, exporting waste for recycling is a legitimate trade that can make a valuable contribution to the global resource balance, but complex legislations and illegal opportunists in the export chain are risking the health of the environment.

The guide covers a range of topics including, The Risks, Prevention, Compliance, Key Facts, Case Studies and Definitions, it outlines relevant legislations, and recommends steps for councils to follow that will prevent their waste being illegally exported, such as establishing tracking procedures and monitoring all exports.

The Environment Agency quoted one waste collection authority as saying, “I think it is a clear, easy to understand piece of guidance that outlines well what local authorities need to do in terms of tracking the materials they collect. I think much of this good practice should be used by local authorities regardless of whether the waste is being exported or not in order to provide transparency and accountability of all partners in the chain.”

In a bid to move towards zero waste to landfill, the EPOW investigated a range of approaches to reduce, reuse and recycle business waste in the South East of England between 2010 and 2013, and hope the newly released good practice guide will be used as an “informative aid” by local authorities across England and Wales.

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