SEPA publishes new guidance for waste oils

New guidance on the production of fuel oils from recycled waste, published today by Scotland's environment watchdog, means that fuel oils that meet the correct specification will no longer be regulated as waste.

The ‘production of processed fuel oil from waste’ guidance ensures there is consistency across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It distinguishes between ‘distillate oil equivalents’ (eg gas oil) and ‘residual oil equivalents’ (eg heavy fuel oil) in the same way as British standard BS2869:2006 –

Fuel oils for agricultural, domestic and industrial engines and boilers. It requires that the parameters set out in BS2869:2006 are met and adds extra environmental parameters to ensure that there is no greater risk to the environment or human health than a virgin fuel.

Around 50,000 tonnes of waste lubricating oil enters the waste stream each year in Scotland. Sulphur, chlorine and various metals can be present in waste oil at elevated concentrations as a result of the use of additives and through engine wear.

These hazardous wastes are required to be incinerated in special plants with strict environmental controls.

However, with sufficient treatment, these and other oily wastes may be processed into replacement fuels with similar environmental performance to a virgin fuel. SEPA is hoping to encourage such high quality processing, which means the subsequent storage, movement and combustion of the product will not be subject to the requirements of waste legislation, including the Waste Incineration Directive.

In order for fuel oil processors to take advantage of this new policy, they should contact SEPA and provide evidence of compliance with the specification detailed in the new guidance.

Processors and users are not obliged to comply with these terms, but fuel oil which does not meet the specification will remain classified as waste.

Kenny Boag, SEPA’s Head of Waste Policy, said: “This is an important development for a problematic waste stream.

“We hope it will encourage waste oil to be collected, processed to a high standard and used to replace other virgin fuels, thereby ensuring environmental protection and encouraging re-manufacturing industries to derive value out of waste in the economy.

“It provides a significant opportunity for the reprocessing sector and contributes towards achieving a Zero waste Scotland. SEPA wants to encourage high quality waste treatments which unlock resource value whilst protecting the environment.”

To view the new regs click here.

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