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Tea bags banned from being recycled

Tea bag ban over foot-and-mouth (BBC News Online, 7 January 2005)
Householders have been told not to throw tea bags in waste meant for compost because it is a foot-and-mouth risk. Cardiff council said European regulations meant tea bags or vegetable peelings could not go in bins used to collect “green” waste. The rules, which affect all local councils, say kitchen waste is a danger because it may have been in contact with meat. The bins are composted and sold to the public. Until now, users have been able to include material such as coffee filters and vegetable peelings. But the authority is set to enforce EU laws designed to prevent a further outbreak of foot-and-mouth by excluding materials which may have been in contact with meat and milk…

Under EU law the UK is fully entitled, but not obliged, to impose stringent standards on the composting of household catering waste. Following recent animal disease catastrophes, new EU rules are now in place to better control the processing and disposal of animal by-products – a major step forward in attempts to prevent another foot-and-mouth or BSE crisis. Whilst household catering waste – including teabags – falls within the scope of the EU Animal By-Products Regulation 2002, national rules may still be applied to its composting. It is also up to member states to ensure they have the treatment facilities in place to enforce their own standards.