The revised Waste Framework Directive introduces a changed hierarchy of options for managing wastes. It gives top priority to preventing waste in the first place. The following list of FAQ’s is handy advice from the Environment Agency
- What is the waste hierarchy?
- Who must follow the waste hierarchy?
- When does the requirement to follow the waste hierarchy become law?
- How do I show that I have followed the waste hierarchy when dealing with a waste?
- When do the requirements to separate paper, metal, plastic and glass come in?
- Where can I get help and advice about separating my waste and getting it collected?
- I created a season ticket for waste transfers before the changes in the requirements for transfer notes. Will I need to retract and recreate these transfer notes for transfers that will take place after 28 September 2011?
Environment Agency – Waste Hierarchy FAQ’s
What is the waste hierarchy?
When waste is created, it gives priority to preparing it for re-use, then recycling, then other recovery such as energy recovery, and last of all disposal (for example landfill).
The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 apply the requirements for the waste hierarchy. Defra has produced guidance in England on applying the hierarchy which can be found on Defra’s website:
This guidance is produced under Regulation 15(1) of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 and any person subject to the Regulation 12 duty (see next question) must have regard to it.
Welsh Government intends to publish guidance in Wales on implementing the waste hierarchy. It is currently consulting on this through the Collections, Infrastructure and Markets sector plan which can be found on the Welsh Government website:
Who must follow the waste hierarchy?
Regulation 12 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 says that businesses that import or produce, collect, transport, recover or dispose of waste, or who operate as dealers and brokers, must take all reasonable measures to apply the waste hierarchy when the waste is transferred.
Also, if you hold or require an environmental permit for an operation that generates waste, you will have to comply with a permit condition concerning the application of the waste hierarchy.
When does the requirement to follow the waste hierarchy become law?
The Regulation 12 hierarchy duty comes into force from 28 September 2011, six months after commencement of the regulations.
The hierarchy permit condition will be applied to permits issued after 29 March 2011. Operators of existing sites will have the condition added to their permit when they are next reviewed as part of our periodic review process under regulation 34 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations.
How do I show that I have followed the waste hierarchy when dealing with a waste?
Advice on this is provided within Government guidance and various best practice guides for industry sectors. It is best practice for you to consider the most appropriate management option for any waste you produce and to record in some way any advice you have received and decisions you have made on your waste.
If you hold an environmental permit which has the new hierarchy condition, you should be able to demonstrate that you have taken the hierarchy guidance into consideration when deciding how to minimise and manage the waste you produce. We will not require detailed written justification of your decisions but these decisions must be reasonable.
From 28 September 2011 transfer notes and, for hazardous waste, consignment notes will contain a declaration that the waste hierarchy has been considered in deciding the most appropriate waste management option for that waste. However, the duty to apply the hierarchy does not become a legal requirement until 28 September 2011.
When do the requirements to separate paper, metal, plastic and glass come in?
Any person who collects any of four waste streams – paper, metal, plastic or glass – must, from 1 January 2015, take practical measures to ensure separate collection of these wastes. Before 2015, it would be advisable for waste producers to consider any measures they might need to take to ensure that their wastes can be collected separately.
Where can I get help and advice about separating my waste and getting it collected?
In addition to Government guidance and best practice guidance you should seek the advice of your waste contractor, who may also be your local authority.
I created a season ticket for waste transfers before the changes in the requirements for transfer notes. Will I need to retract and recreate these transfer notes for transfers that will take place after 28 September 2011?
No. We consider that transfer notes that were created on or before 28 September 2011, in accordance with the regulations that were current at that time, will continue to be valid after the new requirement becomes law, until they require renewal.
However you will, from 29 September 2011, be under a duty to apply the waste hierarchy under regulation 12 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. It would therefore be best practice to record what measures you or your client have taken in applying the waste hierarchy and to ensure that you meet this duty.
We would encourage you to include the waste hierarchy declaration in any new season tickets which you issue between now and 28 September 2011, to enable you to make a smooth transition.
A season ticket can last for up to 12 months but may only cover one specific waste stream, being transferred between two specified parties (transferor and transferee).
A new draft transfer note will be available within the revised Waste Management Duty of Care Code of Practice which government are planning to consult on in due course. Details on this consultation will be available on Defra’s website.