Waste management - code of practice on sampling and reporting at materials facilities: consultation document

We intend to issue a new Code of Practice on sampling and reporting at materials facilities to replace the current Code issued on 2 March 2015. The draft code of practice was open for consultation until 19 April 2024.

2. Introduction

2.1. The Code of Practice

7. The purpose of the Code of Practice on Sampling and Reporting at Materials Facilities is to provide guidance to those authorised to operate an MF on the discharge of certain duties, specifically the duties in section 34(2L)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The proposed new Code will replace the current Code, issued by the Scottish Ministers on 2 March 2015.

8. The current Code applies to operators of Materials Recovery Facilities, handling 1,000 tonnes or more of dry mixed recyclable waste. These operators must comply with the Code as a condition of their waste-management licence and/or PPC permit, as required by regulation 13B of the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (the “WML regulations”) and/or regulation 32A of the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (the “PPC regulations”).[3]

9. The current Code places on the operators of these facilities a range of sampling and reporting requirements; in particular, it requires them to take samples of the material they handle, both at the input stage and at the output stage (i.e. when it arrives at the MRF and when it leaves). The operator must report to SEPA data on the composition of each sample, including reporting the weights of individual materials (glass, paper, cardboard, metal, and plastic) contained in each sample.

10. Facilities handling under 1,000 tonnes of dry recyclable waste, and any materials facility other than a Materials Recovery Facility, are out of scope of the current Code.

2.2. Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging

11. The Scottish Government, alongside the other UK governments, is introducing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for household packaging waste from 2025.

12. Packaging EPR will place responsibility on businesses for the environmental impact of their packaging. This to incentivise recyclability and reuse of packaging, and in turn encourage more domestic reprocessing and overall system improvements and savings. In particular, packaging EPR will see producers pay to local authorities (via a scheme administrator) the full net cost of operating an efficient and effective household packaging collection system.

13. With the other UK governments, we published two consultation documents in 2019 and 2021 which, together, outlined our proposals on the introduction of EPR for packaging across the UK. The Government Response published in March 2022 confirmed policy details for packaging EPR.

14. As set out in the government response, robust sampling and compositional analysis from materials facilities is an important factor in calculating local authorities’ disposal costs. The government response confirmed our intention to make a number of changes to the reporting regime at materials facilities, including:

  • Requiring MFs that bulk waste from two or more suppliers to carry out sampling and reporting;
  • Retaining the current minimum threshold of 1,000 tonnes of dry recyclable waste per annum;
  • Amending the list of material categories for reporting;
  • Increasing the sampling frequency for input sampling to 60kg per 75 tonnes.

15. Regulations to bring these reporting requirements in for England and Wales were made in October 2023 and will come into force on 1 October 2024.[4] Northern Ireland likewise intend to bring these reporting requirements into force.

16. We are bringing these new reporting requirements in through this new Code. We have had close regard to the England and Wales regulations in drafting this new Code. As these requirements have already been consulted upon, the purpose of this consultation with affected stakeholders is not to seek further views on whether these requirements should be introduced, but to ensure that the new Code is clear and achieves its aims.

17. We will be amending the WML and PPC regulations to refer to the new Code once published, and to require the newly in-scope sites to comply with the Code of Practice. For sites that are currently exempt from the requirement to hold a waste-management licence under paragraphs 11 and/or 17 of schedule 1 of the WML regulations, we intend to make compliance with the Code a condition of the exemption. We will bring forward regulations to make these changes in June 2024.

2.3. How to answer this consultation

18. We welcome answers to this consultation from all affected stakeholders and, in particular, local authorities, waste-management companies, and waste-sector trade bodies. Section 3 of this consultation is compulsory for all respondents to help us place responses in context. Sections 4, 5, 6, 10, and 11 are potentially relevant to all respondents. Sections 7 and 9 are relevant to operators of bulking sites and/or sorting facilities. Section 8 is relevant to sorting facilities only.

19. This consultation document has been circulated, along with the draft of the new Code of Practice and a blank response template, to interested stakeholders by email. Please respond by completing the response template document and returning it to producerresponsibility@gov.scot.

20. If you are reading this document and wish to respond but do not have a copy of the draft Code and/or the response template, please email us and we will be happy to provide these.

21. Responses are also welcome in whatever format you find easiest to provide, as long as they respond directly to the questions asked and you send them to the above email address. If you have any queries about how to respond to this consultation, please email us.

22. Responses must be received by the Scottish Government by 19 April 2024 to be taken into account.

23. As part of your response, we will collect your contact details and any personal data you mention as part of your response. We will treat all personal information we collect in line with the Scottish Government’s privacy policy.[5]

2.4. After the consultation

24. After the consultation closes, the Scottish Government will analyse responses and feedback received and produce a finalised Code. We intend laying the new Code in Parliament in June, accompanied by the proposed amendments to the WML and PPC regulations to bring the new sites into scope. The new reporting requirements will then come into force on 1 October 2024, in line with approaches in other UK nations.


Email: producerresponsibility@gov.scot

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