According to the Environmental Services Association, an incalculable amount of hazardous waste is not being treated properly in the UK.
A report by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) namely, Making Defra’s hazardous waste strategy a reality, the report discusses how the treatment of hazardous waste in the UK has significant economic and environmental implications.
Member companies of the ESA deal with a wide range of hazardous waste materials using best available technologies, protecting human health and the environment while providing jobs and growth for the UK economy.
The report does however mention that there is evidence emerging of some of the UK’s hazardous waste being sent for lower cost and less environmentally sound treatment, both in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.
This is happening despite the Government’s hazardous waste strategy and EU rules and this risk the undermining investments made in the best available technologies, and is also deterring future investment which is critical to delivering the strategy.
Hazardous waste needs to be treated in the appropriate way as is can potentially cause harm to human health and the environment. ESA member companies deal with these hazardous materials using the latest technologies, protecting the public and the environment and providing jobs and growth for the UK economy.
Within the report, the ESA have claimed that the UK’s waste management sector often neglects it full duties, leaving much material treated improperly, it also voices concerns that “illegal” practises might be occurring.
Therefore the aim of this document is to reiterate the duties of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency. This report is there to motivate the agency to ensure hazardous waste is treated in more advanced processes, for regulation to be more strictly enforced and for better collection data.
Alex Gazulla, Chairman of the ESA’s hazardous waste strategy group commented on the report:
“The government’s 2010 ‘Strategy for hazardous waste management’ says all the right things, and ESA members are fully behind it.”
“But there is evidence that it is not taking effect on the ground, and that some of the UK’s hazardous waste is not being handled at state of the art facilities, as the Strategy intended. This undermines the investment ESA member companies have made in best available technologies for dealing with hazardous wastes, and if unchecked could pose risks to the environment.”
The Government’s Strategy for Hazardous Waste Management is mentioned within the report, highlighting main purpose is to clarify how EU requirements on hazardous waste should be implemented, and in particular how to give effect to the waste hierarchy.
The strategy sets out the following six key principles:
• To apply the waste hierarchy to hazardous waste
• To facilitate the provision of infrastructure for management of hazardous waste
• To reduce reliance on landfill for hazardous waste
• To ensure hazardous wastes are not mixed or diluted
• To ensure best available techniques are applied to hazardous organic waste
• To end the use of derogations from the Landfill Directive
The Strategy contains a set of “decision trees” to help producers and managers of hazardous waste make decisions about the management of their wastes and to inform decisions about the investment in infrastructure needed to move hazardous waste up the waste hierarchy.
All in all the ESA report makes four main recommendations, it advises stronger promotion and enforcement of the Waste Hierarchy Guidance for hazardous waste, a review by the Environment Agency of how waste should be treated, better data on waste movements and how they are treated, as well as action at EU level to tackle movements of hazardous waste within the EU.
For more information about this report or if you would like to download it, click here.
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