Manufacturers need greater clarity on waste regs, warns EEF

Manufacturing firms could struggle to comply with new waste regulations that came into effect last month, due to a lack of guidance and affordable treatment options.

That is the view of manufacturers’ lobby group EEF, which released a report last week (September 28) to coincide with the Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011 that now require all businesses to apply the waste hierarchy when transferring their waste.

The regulations fall under the EU revised Waste Framework Directive, but EEF is concerned the policy lacks clarity and could impede progress towards compliance among its members.

The EEF’s head of climate & environment policy, Gareth Stace, said: “We need to see changes to regulation, particularly to help define when waste ceases to be a waste to enable it to be reused, and guidance on achieving the best options under the waste hierarchy.”

He added that despite new regulations being rolled out, guidance on hazardous waste under the hierarchy was “not even published yet”. “Awareness of the requirements and options is low, yet government has done little to promote this,” he argued.

EEF’s Ascending the waste hierarchy report found that despite the manufacturing sector achieving a 23% reduction in waste production and a 43% landfill diversion rate between 2002-2009, many firms still face significant regulatory and practical barriers when it comes dealing with their waste cost-effectively.

These include the economic viability of recycling and recovering residual waste, especially when only low volumes are present. Linked to this is a lack of local or regional treatment infrastructure, which can force companies to accept higher costs in shipping waste abroad.

And although reuse ranks highly in the waste hierarchy, many consumers remain concerned about the product safety and reliability of reused goods, particularly with electrical items. Finding end-markets for secondary materials is also an issue and needs on-going support, according to EEF.

More in-depth coverage on the EEF report can be found here

Maxine Perella

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