From 30 October 2007, European Union legislation requires that all waste sent to landfill sites must already have been treated and it is the responsibility of the firms that produce the waste to meet the rules. The new rules apply to all businesses but among small and medium businesses, 80% were not aware of the new requirements while 53% of larger companies did not know either.
You should review how your business manages its waste and speak to your waste management contractor about this new requirement.
- Find out if your waste is sent to landfill. If it isn’t, then these new rules should not affect your business.
- If your waste is sent to landfill, find out how else you could manage your waste. The way we manage waste in our country is changing and in many cases there are other more environmentally-friendly options available for example, recycling.
- If you decide to keep sending your waste to landfill, find out if it is treated first. If not, you will need to take steps to ensure that it is.
The requirement to treat waste is part of a package of measures, applied across the EU by the Landfill Directive. The rules are designed to:
- increase waste recycling and recovery
- reduce potentially polluting emissions from landfills.
The legal definition of treatment requires three things (the ‘three-point test’):
1. It must be a physical, thermal, chemical or biological process including sorting.
2. It must change the characteristics of the waste.
3. It must do so in order to:
(a) reduce its volume, or
(b) reduce its hazardous nature, or
(c) facilitate its handling, or
(d) enhance its recovery.
Treatment is intended to encourage us to recycle more and reduce the impact of the waste that continues to be landfilled.
To meet the new rules, you will be able to treat waste by separating it from the start or by organising for a waste contractor to collect waste as a whole before it is sorted and the recyclable material set aside.
Find out more about what you need to do, and how to improve the way you manage your waste, at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/landfilldirective or call 08708 506 506.
Read related items on: