Waste Industry Group

Waste Industry Group publishes misclassification guide

The Waste Industry Group has published an “easy to use” guide on common misconceptions in waste classification and how to avoid them.

The group said: “Misclassification of Waste and how to avoid it” is aimed at waste producers, carriers, brokers, consultants and managers.”

According to the group, the guide lists the most common mistakes in waste classification, explains why they are wrong, and sets out what to do about it. Categories include waste acceptance criteria (WAC), list of waste/EWC codes, and hazard property codes, as well as waste types such as metals, hydrocarbons, and inert wastes.

Dr Gene Wilson, chair of the waste industry classification group which produced the guide, said:

“Misclassification of waste is one of the most serious issues facing our sector. Where it is done deliberately, to avoid proper waste treatment, the regulator needs to step in and take firm enforcement action.”

 “But often misclassification can be accidental, and here the industry itself has a responsibility to ensure that all involved are competent for the task and classify waste as accurately as possible.”

Dr Gene Wilson, chair of the waste industry classification group which produced the guide, said:

“That is why ESA, working with its partners in the waste industry classification group, has produced this guide on how to avoid the most common classification errors.”

Common errors highlighted in the report include using landfill WAC results to classify a waste; confusing the waste category “inert” with the classification of waste as hazardous or non-hazardous; and, using hazardous properties (H) codes for classification, instead of (HP) codes.

Misclassification has been a subject of discussion for many years. In 2014 the Environment Agency warned that waste operators may be ‘mismanaging’ some hazardous materials, and out of date information is being used to classify the waste.

The following year mandatory loss on ignition (LOI) tests for landfill operators were introduced to help determine whether processors should be charged a standard or lower rate of tax, and to prevent misclassification of waste either deliberately or otherwise.

The announcement comes after the Environmental Services Association (ESA) highlighted the misclassification in its Rethinking Waste Crime report, launched last month (2 May), which outlined a series of recommendations for policy makers to improve efforts to tackle waste crime.

Mandatory loss on ignition (LOI) tests for landfill operators were introduced to prevent misclassification of waste either deliberately or otherwise

The report found waste crime in England incurs losses to the legitimate waste industry and the taxpayer of close to £604 million a year. And it listed misclassification of waste as one of six “key areas” where waste crime occurs. The Waste Industry Group said the new guide, which has been welcomed by the Environment Agency, will be hosted on the websites of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), CIWM, and the Right Waste Right Place campaign.

The Waste Industry Group comprises experts nominated by ESA and CIWM, and representatives of the Environment Agency. The objectives of the group are to promote consistent interpretation and application of waste classification in line with Environment Agency guidance WM3; and, identify where and how to improve technical competence in waste classification.

References:

Let’s Recycle

Misclassification PDF at the Environmental Services Association

 

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