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


Memorandum submitted by Solvent Resource Management Ltd (SRM)


  1.1  SRM were formed in the year 2000 by merging two companies, Solrec and CMR under the ownership of Heidelberg Cement. The traditional business of Solrec and CMR has been continued and expanded in the new company, SRM.

  1.2  SRM recycle in excess of 150,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year in four main business areas, namely recovery of solvents by distillation, manufacture of Secondary Liquid Fuels (SLF) for cement kilns, manufacture of processed solid fuel for cement kilns (Profuel) and manufacture of raw material substitute from waste for use in cement manufacture.

  1.3  As a significant operator in the management of these industrial waste streams SRM welcomes the opportunity to comment on issues within the terms of reference of this inquiry.

  1.4  Solvents and organic chemical waste streams in general make up the majority of hazardous waste currently processed by SRM. In full accordance with the Waste Hierarchy each waste stream is first evaluated for its potential for recycling. In the industry this process is generally referred to as recovery, hence "solvent recovery". Should a waste stream be non-recyclable for technical or economic reasons, SRM process the materials into Secondary Liquid Fuel (SLF) for thermal recovery in cement or lime kilns.

  1.5  Cement is a vital bulk commodity product, which, by its very nature, requires large volumes of both raw materials and energy. Our objective is to develop ways and means of substituting the use of prime raw materials and fuel with materials derived from waste sources, particularly wastes currently being landfilled or incinerated. A cement kiln is proven technology as a valuable jigsaw piece in waste management strategy for the UK and SRM welcome the interest of the EFRA committee and hope this will help the reuse of waste raw materials for thermal recovery or material recovery.

  1.6  Within the terms of reference of the enquiry, we would like to comment on the impact on hazardous waste disposal, of past changes in legislation governing landfill and the steps taken by the Government to prepare for the implementation of the Incineration of Hazardous Waste Directive. We would also wish to comment on plans for the implementation of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC) and the Landfill Directive.


  2.1  The implementation of this Directive, as it affects our business, was correctly completed and secondary liquid fuel is now burned as a hazardous waste in cement kilns, which conform to the Directive as a co-incineration plant.

  2.2  As part of the implementation, it was necessary to determine whether or not SLF was a recovered fuel that falls outside the definition of the Directive or a hazardous waste, to be treated under the terms of the Directive.

  2.3  A Judicial Review between Castle Cement and the Environment Agency in 2001 determined this issue.

  2.4  The judgement concluded that despite extensive processing of hazardous wastes to make SLF, the finished SLF remained a hazardous waste and the processing operations were not a "Recovery Operation". SLF burned at a cement kiln remains a hazardous waste and the recovery is not complete until the waste is incinerated. The burning of the waste is thus the "recovery operation".

  2.5  One consequence of this determination is that Recovered Fuel Oil (RFO) is also a waste, its components were waste and, as with SLF, it is not possible to change it to a fuel by processing operations. Recovery of waste oil is only complete at the point of combustion and the release of energy.

  2.6  The Environment Agency and DEFRA have been aware of this anomalous treatment of RFO, which is still classed as a fuel and stored, transported and used as such, despite the findings of the Judicial Review.

  2.7  Lack of clarity as to the future classification of RFO causes difficulties in planning for the future management and recycling of waste oils. Most European countries now class RFO as a hazardous waste.

  2.8  SRM would welcome official clarification regarding the status of RFO, to allow the Waste Management Industry to formulate a sustainable plan for its future management,particularly in the light of the forthcoming Waste Incineration Directive which may make current use impossible. We don't want a repeat of the fridge mountain problem.

  2.9  A further issue has arisen as a direct result of the implementation of the HWID on Secondary Liquid Fuels. The UK government's financial incentives appear to be lagging behind in this area, in a manner, which currently creates a distortion contrary to the objectives of the government's Waste Strategy and the EC Waste Hierarchy.

  2.10  The government's financial incentives from the view of a producer of SLF, which is classed as a hazardous liquid waste, are as follows: SLF to disposal (landfill) incurs the Landfill Tax at £13 per tonne. SLF to disposal (incineration) incurs no tax, levy or duty. SLF to thermal recovery (cement kiln) incurs a duty of 2.74 p/l equating on average to £26.70 / tonne of hydrocarbon oil content. Bearing in mind that SRM produce SLF from waste streams which are not viable for our recycling operations these three options are the only available routes. SRM recommend that H.M. Customs and Excise should accept that SLF is a hazardous waste being incinerated and that applying the same fuel duty as commercial Gas Oil is not appropriate and runs counter to the governments aims particularly Carbon Dioxide reduction targets. These financial arrangements force waste down the hierarchy not up,this cannot be UK Government policy.

  The diagram below visualises the current situation.

  2.11  The enforcement of the Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive on cement kilns authorised to burn SLF has enforced the current European Waste Catalogue (Council Decision 94/904/EC) (EWC List) for this industry sector.

  2.12  Enforcement of the EWC List on this specific industry sector from July 2000, possibly as much as three years before the EWC List is enforced throughout the waste industry sector as a whole or as part of the planned Special Waste Regulations Review (Hazardous Waste Regulations) has created some difficulties.

  2.13  All cement kilns using SLF have a legally enforced "Acceptable Waste List", which defines which EWC waste categories can be burnt as constituents of SLF. Despite its legal status, this list lacks major definitions. As an example there is no UK, or for that matter even European definition as to what constitutes "aqueous". Category 140102 "other solvents and solvent mixes" "other" meaning non-halogenated solvents) is permitted, 140105 "aqueous solvent mixes free of halogens" is not permitted. Without knowing when a solvent mix is to be classed as an "aqueous" solvent mix it is obviously extremely difficult for the parties involved to demonstrate compliance. This particular issue has been addressed by the industry suggesting a minimum calorific value threshold to the Environment Agency and self-policing itself to these limits.

  2.14  Clear definitions for the individual categories in the EWC List are required prior to further enforcement to prevent recurrences of companies being left in a legal "grey area" and to prevent regional inconsistencies in the enforcement of the EWC List.

  2.15  On a similar note, the co-existence of numerous waste classification schemes (EWC List, Draft UK Waste List, generic descriptions, chemical categories etc.) is making particularly thermal recovery operations unnecessarily complex. It is not uncommon for waste to be delivered to a transfer site and classified according to its permitted waste list. The waste could then be passed on to operators such as SRM and may have to be re-classified for compliance with this sites' permitted waste categorisation scheme. For compliance with the cement kiln's EWC List the waste has then to be reclassified again.

  2.16  The issue of severe regulatory restrictions on the SLF thermal recovery route by having both a tight chemical specification on SLF and a further limitation of an acceptable waste list is discussed under the heading of the Landfill Directive.


  3.1  SRM operate four IPC authorised sites and one Waste Management Licensed site. As SRM's core business activity is to divert waste materials away from disposal operations and up the Waste Hierarchy, be it to thermal recovery or all the way to recycling and re-sale, SRM's operations are very much focussed on the recovery of waste.

  3.2  The main issue currently facing the SLF blending industry in the UK is that the regulatory bodies have yet to decide which IPPC sector SLF blending will fall under. At present there appears to be a danger that the solvent recovery route of SLF manufacture will be reclassified as a disposal operation (Section 5.3).

  3.3  As explained above, SRM's core activity is to recycle and recover waste streams, avoiding disposal wherever possible. SLF blending is not considered a disposal operation. This is reflected in the fact that SLF blending is currently classed as a recovery operation (R13 pending R1). To have one of the main SRM operations re-classed as a disposal operation for the reason that there is no obvious category under Section 5.4 "Recovery of Waste" would appear to go against the intentions of the IPPC regulations.

  3.4  In summary, for the SLF blending industry in the UK the implementation of the IPPC Directive is currently stuck at the first hurdle: defining a suitable IPPC section category.

  3.5  SRM recommend that an urgent resolution to the above situation is required.


  4.1  SRM fully support the governments' commitment to redress the UK's current imbalance in waste management with a view to reduce the landfilling of certain wastes.

  4.2  For a number of waste streams from liquids through to certain solids, thermal recovery as a fuel or material recovery as an alternative to raw materials in a cement or lime kiln would be an optimum solution. These routes would be environmentally beneficial to a disposal operation as expanded on in section 1, the introduction. The routes are existent, fully authorised and regulated, with a nationwide infrastructure in place.

  4.3  SLF manufacture is tightly regulated by a stipulation of chemical and physical parameters and thresholds as well as a list of waste materials to be excluded from the manufacture of SLF. This already tight regulation has, with the enforcement of the HWID been further added to by a list of allowable waste categories permissible for inclusion into SLF. The industry is therefore now regulated by:

    —  chemical and physical specification of SLF to ensure no harm to the environment from burning SLF

    —  list of wastes not permissible for inclusion into SLF

    —  list of wastes permissible for inclusion into SLF

  4.4  SRM believe it is questionable what environmental benefits are to be achieved by this recent addition for the following reasons. Particular waste streams, which must be excluded per se, such as radioactive wastes for example, already are excluded. Any other waste inputs are regulated by the requirement of having to achieve the final specification, for example for parameters such as heavy metals or halogens. In addition, as expanded in paragraph 2.13 the EWC list this permissible waste list is based on lacks major definitions and is therefore difficult to implement.

  4.5  The permissible waste list was collated mainly on the basis of what is currently included in the manufacture of SLF.

  4.6  Whilst SRM could play a further role in diverting waste streams from landfill and offer alternative routes for materials soon to be banned under the Landfill Directive the current list of permissible waste categories poses a significant hindrance. Waste streams that could technically and environmentally be included into SLF once the market conditions are more favourable to thermal recovery, are excluded by virtue of the list of permissible wastes.

  4.7  In order for the waste recovery industry to cope with the increase of wastes soon to be diverted from landfill under the Landfill Directive, the industry needs to be given the flexibility to recover all waste materials which it can safely and correctly process. For the SLF blending industry the current regulation of listing each waste stream that may be handled by a recovery site and having based this largely on what is being handled at present, leaves this particular industry with little or no flexibility to ease the implementation of the Landfill Directive.


  5.1  SRM are willing to provide the committee with further expanded written submissions on any of the above topics if required. SRM have previously hosted a site tour of our operations prior to the 1996 Environment Committee on the Environmental Impact of Cement Manufacture,we have an open door policy with regard to our activities and would welcome the EFRA committee to any of our operating sites.

Submitted by John F Doyle and Andrew Crowther on behalf of:

Solvent Resource Management Ltd

17 May 2002

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