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Duty of Care

Section 34 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 imposes a duty of care on persons concerned with handling waste. This Duty of Care affects anyone who produces, imports, carries, keeps, treats or disposes of controlled waste, or as a broker has control of such waste.

Who is subject to the duty of care?
Any person who imports, produces, carries, keeps treats or disposes of controlled waste or, as a broker, has control of such waste is subject to the Duty of Care with respect to such wastes.

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Environmental Protection Act

The Environmental Protection Act 1990, a UK act of parliament relating to controlled wastes is the successor to the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and makes provision for the management of pollution from industrial processes.

The Environmental Protection Act deals with issues relating to waste on land, defining all aspects of waste management and places a duty on local authorities to collect waste. As a business, you have a duty to ensure that any waste your company produces is handled safely and within the law. This is your ‘duty of care’ and it applies to anyone who produces, imports, transports, stores, treats or disposes of controlled waste from businesses or industries.

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EU Landfill Directive

The Landfill Directive aims to reduce reliance on landfill as a disposal option. It seeks to decrease the environmental impacts of landfills and reduce the risk to human health while imposing a consistent minimum standard for landfills across the EU.

The Landfill Directive:

  • Sets minimum standards for the location, design, construction and operation of landfills.
  • Sets targets for the diversion of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) from landfill things will run.
  • Controls the nature of waste accepted for landfill.
  • It defines the different categories of waste (municipal waste, hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and inert waste) and applies to all landfills, defined as waste disposal sites for the deposit of waste onto or into the land.

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Hazardous Waste Regulation

The Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 came into force and were produced not only as part of a framework for the controlled management of Hazardous Waste but to replace the Special Waste Regulations.

The new hazardous waste definition covers a much wider range of waste and is far broader than that of special waste. It is commonly defined as containing substances or possessing properties that may make it harmful to human health or the surrounding environment but this does not mean that such waste is toxic imminently as it could be prolonged over a period of time.

The Hazardous Waste Regulation includes:

  • Fluorescent Tubes
  • Television sets
  • Fridges
  • PC Monitors
  • Batteries
  • Aerosols & Paint
  • Contaminated Soils

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As of the 1st April, the changes to the Hazardous Waste Premise Registration Procedure will take effect, to find out how this will affect your business. Click here for more information.

Packaging Waste Regulations

The Packaging Waste Regulations were introduced in the UK in 1997 to meet the requirements of the European Directive on packaging and packaging waste, with the aim to not only increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste in a consistent way but to reduce the amount of packaging used all together. In 2011 10.8 million tonnes packaging waste was disposed of in the UK, with 67% being recovered.

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Pre-Treatment of Waste

In 2007, under the new European-wide legislation, inert or non-hazardous wastes must be treated before disposal. The requirement to treat waste is part of the main aim of the Landfill Directive to try and prevent or reduce as far as possible the negative effects on the environment. This change aims to help increase waste recycling and recovery and to help reduce potentially polluting emissions from landfills.

For the waste to be seen as pre-treated it must comply with the definition of treatment, this involves a three-point test in which the proposed treatment option must be accessed by:

The waste must be treated by a physical, thermal, chemical or biological process which includes sorting.

The process must change the characteristics of the waste, and must do so in order to:

  • Reduce the volume of waste; or
  • Reduce its hazardous nature; or
  • Facilitate its handling; or
  • Enhance its recovery.

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UK Waste Regulation

Since January 1st 2015, UK waste regulations have required businesses to separate recyclable materials (paper, plastic & glass) from other waste. This amendment to the EU Waste Framework Directive is to ensure improvement to the quality and quantity of recycling across the UK.

It means that businesses should ensure that all dry mixed recyclables (paper, plastic & glass) produced by your business are collected separately from other waste such as food and general waste.

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Waste Transfer Notes

Any waste transfer must be accompanied by a written Waste Transfer Note (WTN) in which the waste is sufficiently and accurately described. Waste Transfer Notes must be kept for at least two years. Countrystyle Recycling is a licensed waste carrier. Countrystyle works with its customers to help them comply with all relevant waste management legislation.

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The Waste and Electrical & Electronic Equipment Directive

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) was introduced in January 2007. The WEEE Directive aims to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.

For more information click here.

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