Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence




  The WOD 75/439 (87/101) clearly has as its primary objective regeneration by which is meant

    any process whereby baseoils can be produced by refining waste oils, in particular by removing the contaminants, oxidation products and additives contained in such oils

  it further defined processing as

    operations designed to permit the re-use of waste oils, that is to say, regeneration and combustion

  and disposal as

    the processing or destruction of waste oils as well as their storage and tipping above or under ground

  and finally, combustion as

    the use of waste oils as fuel with the heat produced being adequately recovered

Waste oil

  Directive 75/439

    any semi-liquid or liquid used product totally or partially consisting of mineral or synthetic oil, including the oily residues from tanks, oil-water mixtures and emulsions

  Directive 87/101

    any mineral based lubrication or industrial oils which have become unfit for the use for which they were originally intended and in particular used combustion engine oils and gearbox oils and also mineral lubricating oils, oils for turbines and hydraulic oils

  The above definitions are dated, fail to recognise the complexity of lubricant products and were not written with any expert or practical understanding of lubricants markets. It may be assumed also that, from the changed wording of the second directive, synthetic oil is specifically excluded from the definition of waste oil notwithstanding the subsequent significant and continuing growth in use of such materials, particularly in the automotive sector. At the time of writing, however, this provides the core definition for the management of waste oil in Europe.

  Also worth noting is the fact that any other waste oil of non-lubricant origin is not addressed by the Directive; thus mineral oils such as Fuel Oils (Light, Medium and Heavy), gasoil, kerosine and gasoline all of which arise as waste from time to time may be managed without reference to the Waste Oil Directive.

  Finally it is interesting to note that HM C&E is moving away from its longstanding use of the word "hydrocarbon" to the phrase "mineral oil" to define the class of material produced by the petroleum industry for use generally as a source of energy or fuel. This is unlikely to remove the confusion resulting from the many and varied uses and abuses of the word "oil", waste or otherwise.

EU Commission-recycling

    The reprocessing in a production process of the waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes, including organic recycling but excluding energy recovery. The recycling industry is referred to as firms involved in collection, separation, dismantling, sorting and processing of recyclable materials, as well as waste generators and users, which complies with the above definition of recycling.

  Whilst the exclusion of energy recovery may be a valid restriction when promoting recycling for a wide range of substances it poses a particular problem in the case of hydrocarbons whose primary use is actually the production of energy. Thus reprocessing waste oil to make it fit for energy production should be seen as return to original purpose and thus recycling.

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