What do landfill regulation changes mean for you?

New rules governing the landfilling of non-hazardous waste came into force on 30 October 2007 as the final change under the Landfill Directive. So what do the changes mean for your business?


New rules governing the landfilling of non-hazardous waste came into force on 30 October 2007 as the final change under the Landfill Directive. So what do the changes mean for your business?

New rules governing the landfilling of non-hazardous waste came into force on 30 October 2007 as the final change under the Landfill Directive. It means that if you dispose of waste through a landfill, they can no longer accept any untreated waste.

What are the changes?
Businesses in England and Wales must make sure that their waste is treated before it is landfilled. Businesses in Northern Ireland are also required to do this through a previous amendment.

You can either treat your waste yourself or ask a waste contractor to do this on your behalf. The new regulations also ban the disposal of all liquid wastes to landfill.

Until now, the landfill regulations have only banned untreated hazardous waste. The aim is simple – to protect our environment by diverting waste from landfill and increasing recycling and recovery.

As the cost to send waste to landfill is increasing, you may be able make substantial savings by reducing the amount of waste you produce and by reusing waste materials.

Do the new regulations affect my business?
The new regulations affect every business in the UK that produces waste – regardless of the size or type of business.

You may find that you adhere to the regulations without realising it. Two-thirds of small businesses already recycle – this is a form of ‘pre-treatment’ and means that you meet the requirements already.

What steps should I take to ensure I am conforming to the new regulations?
If you decide to keep sending your waste to landfill and you find out that it isn’t being treated first, there are several options open to you. You can segregate or sort waste yourself and recycle, recover or compost at least part of it. Alternatively, you can appoint a licensed waste contractor to take your waste and sort out part of it for recycling on your behalf.

Businesses already have a ‘Duty of Care’ to ensure that they describe their waste properly and only give it to an authorised person to take away. Now, when you transfer waste to somebody else, you should also tell them whether the waste has been treated or not. It is good practice to fill out a written declaration and to keep a copy.

Will these new regulations cost me money?
You may find there is some initial financial outlay. For example, if you need to buy in recycling services from your waste contractor, or invest in segregation facilities on-site. However, you should see costs recouped in terms of reduced landfill charges and improved resource efficiency, as you reduce the amount of waste you produce and reuse waste materials.

Where can I seek advice on these changes – and on broader environmental regulations?
NetRegs.gov.uk is an environmental guidance website set up by the UK’s environmental regulators. It provides a directory of licensed recycling and waste management facilities through its free, online Waste Directory at www.netregs.gov.uk.

Businesses can find their nearest waste facility by typing in their postcode and selecting the types of waste they need to dispose of. It also offers an online compliance self-assessment questionnaire to help SMEs understand the legislation that applies to them and find guidance to improve their compliance.

Businesses in England and Wales can also download factsheets on the new pre-treatment rules by visiting the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/landfilldirective under the ‘New rules for non-hazardous waste’ section.

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