Memorandum submitted by Safety-Kleen UK
Safety-Kleen UK Limited("SK") welcomes
the opportunity to make submissions to the Committee on the subject
of Hazardous Waste.
SK is one of the largest users of special waste
consignment notes in the UK and the largest user of the Carrier's
Round System under the Special Waste Regulations 1996. Its business
involves the placement and servicing of parts washing and paint
spray gun cleaner machines to the industrial sector with a large
volume of business in the automotive sector. It is also involved
with the collection of liquid solvent-related wastes for blending
into secondary liquid fuel for supply to the cement industry.
Its business involves the collection, recycling, recovery and
disposal of a wide range of industrial wastes. It operates through
19 transfer stations and has a major recycling facility at Dinnington
near Sheffield where solvents are recycled and fuels are blended.
Its Head Office is at Safety-Kleen House, 390 London Road, Isleworth,
SK makes 420,000 collections of special waste
each year both on single consignments and carrier rounds. SK assists
many of its customers with completion of the relevant documentation
for special waste consignment.
SK welcomes the review of topical hazardous
waste issues and the submissions are structured to deal with the
three categories set out on Press Notice 24.
"consider the impact on hazardous waste
disposal of past changes in legislation governing landfill, and,
with regard to hazardous waste , the adequacy of preparations
for the implementation of the Landfill Directive(Council Directive
96/61/EC) in the draft Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations
The Company welcomes the Landfill Directive
and the exclusion of liquids and corrosive and flammable substances
from landfill. The delay in agreement of technical requirements
for hazardous waste landfills has resulted in a period of considerable
uncertainty both for landfill operators who may wish to continue
to operate as hazardous waste landfill operators and for investment
in possible new hazardous waste landfills. This has meant uncertainty
in the hazardous waste recovery, recycling and treatment businesses
where investment has been held back because it is unclear how
much waste will be diverted from landfill and whether adequate
hazardous waste landfill capacity will exist to receive treated
residues following recycling and recovery processes.
The position has been exacerbated by a rush
by landfill operators to fill sites before restrictions arrive
with a driving down of prices and a consequent squeeze on the
non-landfill hazardous waste businesses who will be required to
handle material once the restrictions under the Directive on liquids
and co-disposal bite. The uncertainty was compounded by the long
running debate as to the timing of certain of the bans and the
phasing out of co-disposal and what the Directive did or did not
intend. The long standing use of co-disposal in the UK has meant
a competitive disposal advantage to UK business but has also meant
that there has been no incentive for investment in recycling,
recovery and treatment capacity.
Efforts will be made by operators to have access
to suitable trade effluent consents for disposal of high volume
low toxicity material diverted from landfill and it is important
that independent operators have a fair share of the capacity available
at sewage treatment works for this purpose bearing in mind that
most of the sewerage undertakers also operate their own merchant
liquid waste operations receiving wastes at such sites.
Considerable vigilance will be required by the
Environment Agency to prevent solid and liquid hazardous wastes
going to landfills where spare capacity has not been utilised
before the deadlines. The introduction of producer registration
will help to impose some responsibility on waste producers to
The Landfill Regulations are broadly a reflection
of the wording in the Directive. Many key issues are to be dealt
with in Guidance rather than in the Regulations themselves in
particular the meaning of treatment prior to landfilling. This
places a burden on the EA that should more appropriately be assumed
by DEFRA as legislator. There is an industry view that due to
lack of resources in DEFRA many key issues have been passed to
the EA to handle rather than work up more comprehensive regulations
to deal with important issues. The status of guidance published
by the Agency in this way is unclear from a legal standpoint as
it lacks legal authority.
"examine the steps taken by the Government
to prepare for the implementation of the ???.End-of-Life Vehicles
Directive(Council Directive 2000/53/EC) . . ."
The Company is highly experienced in the handling
of wastes from the automotive industry and is concerned that inadequate
preparations are being made to control and handle the hazardous
wastes arising from destruction of old vehicles. With some exceptions
the metals recycling industry is ill equipped to segregate and
handle the liquid wastes arising from vehicle destruction. It
is important that the costs for handling wastes are factored into
any costs estimates for vehicle disposal. It seems likely that
specialised plants are required to de-pollute vehicles prior to
destruction so that this is effectively required and to be certified
before vehicles can be sent for destruction into the metals waste
stream. This will enable those with appropriate hazardous waste
experience to handle the wastes and stop metals recyclers becoming
involved in special waste operations. This would be labour intensive
and relatively costly in view of the small quantities generated
per vehicle but would be a significant improvement on the currently
ad-hoc manner in which some of these are currently handled. As
many of the wastes may be recycled and recovered some financial
incentives may be appropriate to establish these centres.
"consider the progress of DEFRA's root
and branch review of its Special Waste Regulations"
Safety-Kleen has made a number of detailed responses
in writing and in meetings with DEFRA and the Environment Agency
in relation to changes to the Special Waste Regulations and the
proposals for Producer Registration. It is not intended to repeat
these but they can be made available to the Committee if required.
Safety-Kleen is disappointed at the time that
has been taken to proceed to final consultation following the
last round of consultation and comments. The Company fully supports
the principle of producer registration. There are however serious
concerns as to whether the current proposals will have the impact
desired on imposing greater responsibility upon producers to handle
and characterise their wastes accurately. It seems likely that
the main burden for administering the new arrangements will fall
upon waste contractors who will be pressured into undertaking
registration and record keeping for producers. This is a particular
burden on Safety-Kleen as it deals with a large number of small
quantity generators of waste who require considerable help and
guidance and the new arrangements represent a significant burden
for the Company and its business.
The reality is that the Environment Agency does
not have the manpower to make regular visits to producers unless
they are already required to visit for waste licensing and IPPC
purposes. Checks upon producers must be improved because at the
present time the main burden for waste checking falls upon waste
contractors who are then put in the invidious position of whistleblowing
on their main customers.
The technical question of classifying wastes
will hopefully be settled by the use of the European Waste Catalogue
for all purposes as envisaged by the Landfill Regulations and
the forthcoming Special Waste Regulations. It seems strange therefore
that the Environment Agency is currently asking for site returns
to be made using a UK Classification Scheme. It is hoped this
proposal will be abandoned as it can only lead to confusion.
Safety-Kleen collects waste from a wide range
of small producers and it is hoped that fees under the new scheme
will be graduated or of such a level as to enable small producers
to comply but without being unduly penalised financially.
Safety-Kleen is keen to ensure that every effort
is made to adopt electronic means of dealing with paperwork associated
with the new regime. The Company is devoting considerable resources
to researching and developing means of serving its customers and
complying with legal requirements in a cost efficient manner by
use of latest IT techniques. It is hoped that the Environment
Agency will discuss with the waste industry the advantages to
be gained from this approach and the financial savings that could
be made by adopting an innovative approach.
In the absence of clearer figures for volumes
of waste diverted from landfill and delay in establishing criteria
for hazardous waste landfills there is a risk that there will
be a delay in the creation of adequate capacity and new plants
to handle hazardous wastes by recycling recovery and treatment.
Implementation of the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive
is an opportunity to control residual hazardous wastes more effectively.
Finalisation of the new Special Waste Regulations
should proceed as soon as possible with statutory pressure maintained
on the producer and with an appropriate lead in time to ensure
the new paperwork systems are viable and embrace latest IT techniques.
The Company would be happy to expand upon any
of the issues raised should the Committee find this useful.
Safety-Kleen UK Limited
17 May 2002