The management of waste has never been more important in the UK. 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. Following recent changes to waste regulations and bigger changes to come in 2015, the issue of waste management, systems and procedures has never been so high on the Facilities Management agenda.
The rules have changed for Facilities Managers. Waste Management is no longer an option, it is now mandatory. From September 2011 the new Waste (England and Wales) Management Regulations came into force – essentially adding extra steps to the ‘Waste Management Hierarchy’.
5 Steps to effective and compliant waste management
Step 1 – Prevention – Using less material in design and manufacture. Keeping products for longer; re-use. Using less hazardous materials
Step 2 – Preparing for re-use – Checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing, whole items or spare parts
Step 3 – Recycling – Turning waste into a new substance or product. Includes composting if it meets quality protocols
Step 4 – Other recovery – Includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis which produce energy (fuels, heat and power) and materials from waste; some backfilling
Step 5 – Disposal – Landfill and incineration without energy recovery
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:
- WRAP – Waste hierarchy
- Defra – Waste hierarchy
The new regulations impact on business and facilities management professionals. Waste producers, waste holders and carriers must apply the new waste hierarchy and make a declaration on their waste transfer notes that it has been taken into consideration. When waste is transferred or ‘passed on’ the producer still needs to make a declaration.
The waste producer or organisation will be asked to keep records for inspection by the enforcing authority, the Environment Agency. Failure to comply will lead to investigation and possible prosecution. According to the Environment Agency Guidelines (INSERT LINK HERE) there is a legal duty on all companies that produce or handle waste to ‘take all measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to apply the waste hierarchy to prevent waste and to apply the hierarchy as a priority order when you transfer waste to another person’
In the UK, landfill tax set to increase from £56 per tonne to £64 per tonne from 1 April 2012, an increase of £8 per tonne. This part of the Government’s strategy to address the UK’s ever increasing waste problem, however, most small businesses in the UK are still finding it a challenge to reduce waste and recycle more. Undoubtedly this brings competitive advantage opportunities for those companies that can clearly identify waste streams, where cost savings can be made and better still, where waste can be turned into revenue.
Every day UK businesses are literally throwing away profit due to the waste they produce. Many businesses are unaware of how significantly this impacts on their bottom line. Others just don’t know where to go for practical confidential advice to help them make better use of their resources. A better understanding of the waste hierarchy will help you identify actions that can be taken to become more resource efficient.
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. Written justification of your decisions is not required but these decisions must be reasonable.
GPT Waste are urging Directors and FM’s to consider the following questions when looking at the organisation’s Waste Management Strategy:
- What does the waste you create or handle consist of?
- How can you prevent any of this waste?
- Can the waste be prepared for reuse, can it be recycled or can any other value be recovered?
- How can you or your waste contractor(s) help you to elevate your waste on the waste hierarchy scale?
Tony Mottram, Commercial Director at GPT Waste said:
“We can help Operations Directors and Sustainability Professionals audit their entire business process to identify waste streams and waste processes. We look at how many times waste is handled throughout the entire business process. We quickly identify where significant cost savings can be made and how the organisation can turn waste streams to revenue. This means that our clients see waste management as a revenue stream and not a cost”
Tony Mottram is the Commercial Director from GPT Waste Management www.gptwaste.com
GPT Waste offer a full Waste Review Service free of charge. Find out how they can help your business deal more effectively with your waste: Call 01928 571 349 or email here.
Subscribe to The Waste Solution blog by Email or subscribe to the RSS feed to receive regular updates.