Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1. Waste generally poses a greater risk
than a corresponding product, simply because it has been discarded
and therefore tends to have a lower value to the owner. However,
hazardous waste differs from most other types of waste in that
it poses an intrinsic risk to human health and/or the environment.
It is therefore important that hazardous waste is managed in a
way that minimises this risk, from the point at which it arises
to the point at which it is disposed of or returned to use. Similarly,
while all waste management facilities should meet stringent environmental
standards, those that receive hazardous waste may need to reach
still tougher requirements that reflect the nature of the materials
that are processed.
2. These points have been recognised by
the international community, as well as domestically. Within Europe,
Directives on Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Waste Incineration
set out rigorous controls over and above those that are required
for other wastes. Similarly, the Landfill Directive and the Integrated
Pollution Prevention and Control Directive contain separate provisions
for facilities that receive hazardous waste. At a global level,
the Basel Convention, the only multilateral environmental agreement
that deals specifically with waste, focuses on the need to minimise
the production and movement of hazardous waste and to ensure its
environmentally sound management.
3. As set out in Waste Strategy 2000, the
Government is committed to reducing the risks associated with
the handling and management of hazardous waste by:
1. Reducing quantities of hazardous wastes.
2. Reducing the hazardousness of wastes.
3. Ensuring that hazardous wastes are managed
4. This memorandum explains the drivers
that support these aims and the measures that Government is taking
to achieve them.
5. The Government is also committed to the
principles of self-sufficiency and proximity in respect of the
management of waste produced in the UK. It follows from this that
we wish to maintain a network of facilities to enable all hazardous
wastes to be dealt with appropriately and in accordance with all
relevant environmental standards.
What is hazardous waste?
There are various definitions of hazardous waste
that have been developed by a range of bodies, including the UNEP
Basel Convention, the OECD, the European Union and the UK Government.
However, the most important of these is probably the European
hazardous waste list.
Wastes classified as hazardous in the European
list display one or more of the fourteen hazard characteristics
defined in the Dangerous Substances Directive (in some cases at
levels above specified thresholds). The hazardous waste list was
initially agreed in 1994 to define the scope of the Hazardous
Waste Directive. This original list included around 200 wastes.
Examples included most forms of asbestos, waste mineral oils,
organic solvents, lead-acid batteries and many wastes from chemical
processes. Domestic waste was generally excluded.
The list has been revised and added to subsequently,
largely through amendments agreed in 1999 and 2000. Newly hazardous
wastes include end-of-life vehicles, TVs and PC monitors, fluorescent
lamps and contaminated soil. Again, domestic waste is generally
excluded, although separately collected household hazardous waste
is now listed as hazardous.
The hazardous waste list has gained increasing
significance since 1994-it is also cross-referred to by the Directives
on Hazardous Waste Incineration, Integrated Pollution Prevention
and Control and Landfill. Consequently, the UK's domestic transposition
of these measures also refers to the list.
In the UK, the hazardous waste list has been
implemented through the Special Waste Regulations 1996. However,
the definition of "special waste" differs from the original
hazardous waste list in several ways. In some respects, it goes
wider than the European list. For example, all prescription only
medicines are special waste, as are all wastes that display particular
hazardous properties, regardless of whether they are on the hazardous
waste list. On the other hand, wastes that are on the list are
excluded from the definition of special waste if they do not exhibit
hazardous properties above threshold levels set out in the Special
6. Many of these inconsistencies were resolved
through the later revisions to the hazardous waste list. The Government
proposes to address most of the remainder through its current
review of the Special Waste Regulations-including the replacement
of the term "special waste" with "hazardous waste".
7. Around five million tonnes of special
waste are produced every year in England and Wales. The most significant
hazardous waste streams by mass are oily wastes and construction
and demolition wastes, largely contaminated soil. Quantities of
waste produced that is classified as hazardous will increase significantly
under the new hazardous waste list.
8. Almost half of all special waste is currently
disposed in landfill sites. The remainder is either disposed of
or recycled by a number of different means.
|Waste fate||Quantity (Tonnes)
||% of whole|
|Incineration with energy recovery||34,260
|Incineration without energy recovery||77,437
|Long term storage||20,097
|Transfer (Short term)||508,622
Control of hazardous waste management facilities
9. Facilities for the management of hazardous waste are
controlled under a variety of permitting regimes. Most waste management
facilities require a waste management licence, under Part II of
the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management
Licensing Regulation 1994. The licence will require that facilities
are operated in a manner that protects human health and the environment.
10. However, an increasing number of facilities require
permits under other regimes. Most waste incinerators, including
all hazardous waste incinerators need to be authorised under the
integrated pollution control system under Part I of the Environmental
Protection Act 1990 (EPA). Consequently, their operators need
to be able to demonstrate the use of the best available techniques
not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC) to minimise emissions to
air, water and land. The authorisation also requires compliance
with the provisions of the Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive.
Part I of the EPA is being subsumed by the Pollution Prevention
and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 and the similar
requirement for Best Available Techniques (BAT) to be used. Permits
for incinerators including hazardous waste incinerators are now
issued under these regulations.
Controls over the movement of hazardous waste
11. The Special Waste Regulations 1996 were made in order
to transpose the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Directive,
which sets out a system for the controlled management of hazardous
waste. The Regulations contain procedures to be followed when
disposing of, carrying and receiving special waste and enable
the Environment Agency to track special waste from the point at
which it is produced to the point of final disposal. This encourages
better management of these potentially hazardous wastes.
12. In view of the recent changes to the Hazardous Waste
List and other changes in the field of waste management, the Special
Waste Regulations 1996 are currently being reviewed. See later
Imports and exports of hazardous waste
The UK has a long-standing commitment to self-sufficiency
in the management of all waste, including hazardous waste. The
Government also believes that it should encourage other countries,
particularly those from the developed world, to be self-sufficient.
13. To this end, the UK Plan for the Exports and Imports
of Waste, published in 1996, bans all exports of waste for disposal,
as well as most imports. Exceptions are made in the case of wastes
from countries that cannot reasonably be expected to develop their
own facilities for management of particular wastes, as well as
imports from Portugal or Ireland for high temperature incineration.
These exceptions reflect the fact the high capital and operating
costs of hazardous waste facilities and the need to participate
fully in the destruction of stockpiles of materials such as pesticides
in developing countries. Nevertheless, the UK is a strong advocate
of capacity building as a means of minimising international shipments
of hazardous waste.
14. Waste destined for recovery can generally be traded
freely between OECD countries, in a similar way to any other raw
material. However, under the European Waste Shipment Regulation,
exports of all hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries are banned,
to ensure that they are only received at environmentally sound
facilities. This is consistent with the ban amendment to the Basel
Convention, which the UK ratified in 1999.
Waste Strategy 2000
15. Waste Strategy 2000 explained the need to reduce
the production of all waste and to ensure that, where waste unavoidably
is produced, the best use should be made of the resources within
16 The requirement to reduce waste production is all
the greater in the case of hazardous waste. In addition to the
drive towards greater sustainability and better resource management,
there is a clear need to reduce the particular risks associated
with the movement and management of hazardous waste. Similarly,
there are compelling reasons to ensure that hazardous waste facilities
comply with tough environmental standards that reflect the nature
of the wastes that are handled.
The Landfill Directive is probably the single most significant
driver for the fundamental changes to hazardous waste management
that will occur over the next five years. It presents particular
problems for the UK because of the continuing predominance of
co-disposal sites, where hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are
landfilled together. Such sites, which do not generally exist
in the rest of Europe, will need to be phased out by July 2004.
17. The Directive is a complex and highly technical piece
of legislation that represents a step change in current practice
not only for landfill site operators but for all waste producers.
It was therefore incumbent on the Government to consult as widely
as possible and to ensure that implementation proceeds as smoothly
Two consultation papers on the implementation of the Landfill
Directive have been issued. The first was published in October
2000, the second in August 2001, containing a copy of draft regulations.
In addition, a number of consultation seminars on various aspects
of the Directive have been held, as have regular liaison meetings
with key stakeholders. These established sounding boards to discuss
the proposals on a number of issues, for example to inform our
negotiating stance on the waste acceptance criteria.
18. The responses to both consultation exercises were
very thoroughly analysed and the results fed into both the development
of the regulations and wider implementation policy. For example,
industry's request that rather than bringing the ban on non-hazardous
liquids into effect on a site-by-site basis a single national
date applying to all sites should be used.
19. This comprehensive consultation process has contributed
to the UK being late in implementing the Directive and therefore
subject to infraction proceedings by the European Commission.
Nevertheless, the Government believes that the substantial changes
to current UK practice that the Directive introduces made such
a process unavoidable.
Recognising that local authorities and the waste industry
needed some degree of certainty during the consultation process,
the Environment Agency were instructed to apply the requirements
of the Directive to all new sites seeking permits to operate after
16 July 2001 as far as they were able to using their existing
powers under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations
2000 and Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The
requirements of the Directive do not bite on existing landfill
sites until July 2002, by which time, assuming Parliamentary approval,
the Regulations should be in force.
While this was considered, to push back any of the Directive's
requirements in order to achieve a smoother transition would place
the UK in breach of the Directive itself (rather than only late
implementation) and expose us to further infraction action.
20. The Directive has yet to be implemented in Germany,
Belgium, Portugal, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, and Finland, all
of which are subject to a Reasoned Opinion by the European Commission.
A number of other Member States (eg France) also missed the July
2001 transposition date but are at an earlier stage in the infraction
Effects on hazardous waste management
With effect from 16 July 2002, the Landfill Directive bans
the landfilling of:
Hazardous waste which in the conditions of landfill is explosive,
oxidising, corrosive, flammable or highly flammable
Hospital and other clinical wastes arising from medical or
veterinary establishments which are infectious
Whole used tyres from 2003 and shredded used tyres from 2006
Any waste that does not fulfil the waste acceptance criteria
21. Co-disposal of hazardous waste that is not banned
and non-hazardous waste can continue at hazardous waste sites
until 16 July 2004. (The co-disposal of non-hazardous and inert
waste is not banned by the Directive.) Latest figures suggest
about 2,500,000 tonnes of hazardous waste is landfilled, approximately
600,000 tonnes of which will no longer be able to be sent to landfill
following implementation of the bans in the Directive
22. The capacity available for the landfilling of hazardous
waste that is not banned from landfill post 16 July 2002 remains
unclear, despite the Department's efforts to clarify the position.
The choice of what sort of site to operate has to be a commercial
one for landfill site operators. The information is commercially
sensitive and it is therefore unlikely that a clear picture will
emerge until very close to the implementation date (operators
must submit a site conditioning plan to the Environment Agency
by 16 July, setting out what sort of site they wish to operate
post July 2002 and post July 2004).
23. The Government believes that given the current uncertainty
over operators short and longer term intentions it is prudent
to use whatever flexibility is offered by the Directive to prepare
for any shortfall in capacity. To this end it intends to:
24. take full advantage of any transitional period granted
by the Commission to bring the European waste acceptance criteria
into effect. In the meantime, our broader interim national criteria
will apply. This will allow us to continue to landfill a broader
range of hazardous wastes for as long as possible and give more
time for alternative disposal or treatment routes to come on stream.
25. set single national dates for the requirement that
all waste going to landfill is pre-treated to come into effect.
For hazardous wastes this will probably be 2004, for non-hazardous
wastes no later than 2007. This will allow more time for new treatment
infrastructure to come on stream. It will also allow existing
treatment capacity to concentrate in the short term on dealing
with those hazardous wastes banned from landfill after July 2002.
26. set a single national date for implementation of
the ban on non-hazardous liquids going to landfill. This will
be based on current and predicted waste arisings and the availability
of treatment facilities and alternative disposal routes for these
wastes. In advance of the ban coming into effect, any suitable
facilities will therefore be available for handling hazardous
liquids, which are banned from landfill in July 2002.
27. DEFRA is also working closely with the Environment
Agency, waste producers and the waste management industry to ensure
sufficient capacity is available.
Alternative Disposal Options
Many of the hazardous wastes to be banned from landfill are
not generally landfilled in the UK at present. For those that
are, research for the Department concluded that there was sufficient
alternative disposal systems (in use or planned) to cope with
the large volume of organic process waste streams requiring diversion
from landfill. Examples given included:
pyrolysis and gasification-commissioned in some major industrial
merchant treatment plants for organic wastes offering pre-treatment,
such as air stripping or pH balancing
existing landfill leachate plant could treat a range of aqueous
organic waste streams, further developments could provide a wider
range of outlets for organic wastes
some water companies are encouraging greater use of their
spare capacity in aerobic and anaerobic treatment systems
solvent recovery plants have some spare capacity and are
planning investment to recover useful materials from aqueous feedstock
high temperature incineration
28. The report suggested additional facilities might
be required for oily wastes, contaminated soils, and inorganic
29. Stable and non-reactive hazardous wastes that are
not banned from landfill, such as asbestos cement, can be disposed
of in separate cells at non-hazardous landfill sites.
30. The Directive will also act as a driver for waste
producers to minimise waste arisings and recycle, re-use or recover
in order to divert waste from landfill.
31. Hazardous waste sites will be classified on 16 July
2002. Inert and non-hazardous sites will be classified when they
receive a PPC permit. Under the interim national waste acceptance
criteria set out in Schedule 1 of the Draft Landfill Regulations:
32. hazardous waste sites can accept wastes on the Hazardous
Waste List. In addition, until July 2004 they can also accept
33. non-hazardous waste sites can accept all wastes except
hazardous wastes. However, stable and non-reactive hazardous wastes
can go to non-hazardous sites as long as they are landfilled in
34. inert waste sites can accept wastes on the list of
wastes in Schedule 1 and any other wastes which fall within the
definition of inert waste in the regulations.
35. he criteria in Schedule 1 will be replaced in due
course by the waste acceptance criteria currently close to agreement
in Brussels. These will set more detailed criteria based on the
achievement of limit values following leaching tests on the waste.
Site Conditioning Plans
36. Site Conditioning Plans must be submitted to the
Environment Agency by 16 July 2002. The requirement for operators
to submit site conditioning plans by 16 July 2001 has been clear
since the Directive was adopted. In advance of the Regulations
coming into effect, the Environment Agency has already circulated
site conditioning plan packs to all operators containing a form
and detailed guidance on completion. They have also held a series
of seminars around the country to help operators understand what
is required of them.
Waste Acceptance Criteria
37. The European waste acceptance criteria are currently
under negotiation in Brussels. The Commission had intended to
bring these negotiations to an end in July last year but in the
event considered that the need for further modelling work to underpin
the criteria meant that this date was unachievable. They have
announced their intention to bring forward a final proposal for
voting in July this year and current indications are that this
deadline will be achieved.
38. The UK has been doing its best to drive the process
forward, we have led and funded much of the modelling work that
is informing the criteria, we have hosted meetings, and have emphasised
to the Commission the importance we attach to securing criteria
as soon as possible.
39. The UK has argued that given the delay in agreeing
the criteria and the fact that we will need to develop infrastructure
to treat waste to meet the criteria or dispose of waste that can't
meet the criteria, we should be given a realistic timescale for
transposing and implementing the criteria. The Commission are
currently considering Member States views on implementation dates.
The Government appreciates that the absence of agreed criteria
has caused uncertainty and made operator's decisions about the
type of site to operate difficult. It may also have delayed decisions
about investing in alternative treatment facilities until the
standards to which waste must be treated to gain access to a landfill
site are finalised. This is why we have argued that the Commission
should allow sufficient time for Member States to implement the
criteria in order to ensure that the necessary infrastructure
is in place.
40. Considerable guidance on the interpretation of the
Directive and its requirements has been provided by the Government
in the two consultation papers issued on the Directive. In addition,
the Environment Agency has produced a whole suite of guidance
covering technical issues such as the Directive's engineering
requirements and regulatory guidance covering processes such as
site classification and submission of site conditioning plans.
Further guidance from Government and the Environment Agency is
41. The Directive will result in costs to landfill site
operators to bring their sites up to the required standards but
also to waste producers who will have to pay for pre-treatment
of their waste before landfilling. It is also likely that capacity
for landfilling of hazardous waste will decline and will therefore
drive up prices for producers wishing to landfill such waste.
42. The Directive brings forward a number of requirements
that will add between £2.20 and £40.40 per tonne to
the mean cost of waste disposal with costs ranging from £0
to £120 per tonne for specific waste streams. These costs
will largely be passed back to the waste producers, reflecting
the polluter pays principle, and will provide a further incentive
to waste producers to reuse, recycle, recover or otherwise minimise
their waste production.
Changes to the Hazardous Waste List
43. Around 200 additional wastes are now classified as
hazardous under the new European Waste Catalogue. Many of the
newly hazardous wastes are everyday items, such as end-of-life
vehicles, PC and TV monitors and fluorescent light tubes.
The Government will work with local authorities, waste producers
and the waste industry to ensure that there is continued availability
of waste management options for newly hazardous wastes. There
will be a number of issues to be overcome. There will be decreased
availability of landfill for these wastes as they will only be
able to be disposed of at hazardous waste sites. Furthermore,
many civic amenity sites and other waste management facilities
are not licensed to take hazardous wastes.
44. However, the re-classification of many wastes is
synergistic with other legislative changes, for example the ELV
Directive and the WEEE Directive. It will encourage the separation
out of hazardous components and, consequently, their proper management.
The UK is being referred to the European Court of Justice
as a result of the incomplete implementation of the Hazardous
Waste Directive achieved by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations
1994 and the Special Waste Regulations 1996. Most of the issues
raised in this case are fairly minor and are being addressed through
the review of the Special Waste Regulations.
45. However, two of the issues raised are rather more
significant. First, because agricultural waste is not controlled
waste, it falls outside the definition of special waste. This
point will be dealt with in the forthcoming consultation on the
extension of waste management controls to agriculture.
46. A second, more complex, point relates to the UK's
use of exemptions that allow certain hazardous waste management
activities to be carried out without a permit that complies with
the relevant provisions of the Waste Framework Directive (a Waste
Management Licence). The Hazardous Waste Directive requires any
exemption that applies to hazardous waste to be notified to the
Commission and agreed by other Member States.
A number of hazardous waste licensing exemptions allowed
by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (as amended)
appear not to have been properly notified. These include exemptions
that currently apply to storage of oils and solvents as well as
goods that have been returned to retailers. It is possible that
some of these will not be agreed by other Member States as they
do not, and cannot readily, meet the general rules for hazardous
waste exemptions set out in the Hazardous Waste Directive.
47. This problem is exacerbated by the new Hazardous
Waste List, which extends the definition of hazardous waste and
therefore means that more of the existing exemptions need to be
48. The Government will consult on a set of revised exemptions
once workable general rules have been established, in co-operation
with the Environment Agency. This is likely to happen later in
2002. However, it is likely that some existing exemptions may
need to be removed. If this is the case, the Government will give
careful consideration to a light touch permitting regime to operate
in their stead.
Waste Incineration Directive
49. Previous waste incineration directives only applied
to municipal and hazardous waste. The new Waste Incineration Directive
("WID")Directive 2000/76/ECupdates the
requirements of the 1989 municipal waste incineration directives
(89/429/EEC and 89/369/EEC) and, by merging them into the 1994
Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive (94/67/EC), consolidates
incineration controls into a single piece of European legislation.
50. It covers virtually all waste incineration and co-incineration
plant (such as cement kilns burning waste solvents) going beyond
those plant previously covered by the incineration directives.
Additionally, it also replaces Article 8(1) and the Annex to the
Waste Oil Directive (75/439/EEC) thus extending the scope of incineration
controls to cover the burning of waste oils. WID will apply to
a total of up to 2,600 installations. Table 1 lists the main incineration
and co-incineration processes and the estimated number of installations
of each type.
SUMMARY LIST OF ESTIMATED NUMBERS, TYPES AND PROCESSES
COVERED BY WASTE INCINERATION DIRECTIVE
|Municipal waste incinerators
|Clinical waste incinerators
|Sewage sludge incinerators
|General waste incinerators
|Hazardous waste incinerators
|Animal remains incinerators
|Waste oil combustion||
|Waste oil burners||3
|Roadstone coating plant
|Waste derived fuel burners
|Cement/lime kiln burning waste
|Power stations burning waste
Note 1 There is an exemption in the Directive
for animal carcasses regulated under the Animal By-products Regulation
which is still under negotiation.
Note 2 It is estimated that 90 per cent of these
processes are garages which burn approximately 2 tonnes per annum
of waste mineral oil.
Note 3 There are estimated to be 3,350 wood burning
processes in the furniture manufacturing sector, the majority
are thought to burn untreated wood and are exempted from WID control
by another exclusion.
Note 4 Plant burning only straw will be exempted
from WID under Article 2(a)(i).
Note 5 UK plants (rather than just those in England
51. WID sets stringent requirements that will apply to
all new incinerator installations from 28 December 2002 and to
all existing installations from 28 December 2005. It specifies
air emission and sets requirements concerning normal and abnormal
operating conditions, water discharges from cleaning exhaust gases,
ash recycling, plant control and monitoring and public access
to information. The Directive also requires that all incinerators
and co-incinerators will require continuous monitors for certain
52. The Government will shortly be publishing a consultation
paper on draft Regulations and Directions, which would transpose
WID in England and Wales by the end of December 2002. The Regulations
will be based upon the Pollution Prevention and Control (England
and Wales) Regulations 2000.
Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC)
53. Apart from hazardous waste incinerators and larger
landfill sites, most other facilities that deal with more than
10 tonnes of hazardous waste a day will also need to be brought
under the PPC system in 2005.
54. One of the main goals of the End of Life Vehicles
Directive (ELV) is to reduce and control the amount of hazardous
materials that are released from vehicles. This will be achieved
by introducing preventative measures to be applied to vehicles
from when they are made; and by facilitating recovery and recycling
of vehicle parts to avoid the disposal of hazardous waste.
55. The Directive (article 4) requires vehicle manufacturers,
together with material and equipment manufacturers, to limit the
use of hazardous substances in vehicles as far as possible, so
as to prevent their release into the environment; to make recycling
easier and to avoid the need to dispose of hazardous parts. In
particular, Member States are to ensure that any material and
components of vehicles put on the market after 1 July 2003 do
not contain lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium, except
for a few limited exempted cases such as lead in batteries where
the use is unavoidable. Such exemptions are listed in Annex II
to the Directive.
56. The Directive also requires that the design and production
of new vehicles should fully take account of the need to dismantle
the vehicle and to reuse and recycle its components. In particular,
vehicle components containing hazardous substances and which are
listed in Annex II of the Directive must be labelled so as to
make identification and subsequent removal easier. Producers are
to provide dismantling information for each type of new vehicle
placed on the market, which, in particular will provide the location
of all hazardous substances that will need to be removed and segregated.
The Commission is also preparing European Standards relating to
the dismantlablity and recoverability of vehicles so that vehicles
are re-useable and/or recyclable to a minimum of 85 per cent by
weight per vehicle, and are re-useable and/or recoverable to a
minimum of 96 per cent by weight per vehicle.
Treatment Operations involving Hazardous Waste
57. Any treatment facility wishing to take and treat
end of life vehicles after the implementation of the Directive
in the UK will have to obtain a permit from the Environment Agencies,
and their site will be inspected at least once a year to verify
among other things the type and quantities of hazardous waste
to be treated.
58. When a vehicle arrives at a treatment facility it
is to be stripped of its components that have been labelled to
identify the fact that they contain hazardous substances in order
to reduce any impact upon the Environment. These hazardous components
and materials are then to be removed and segregated so that there
is no chance that they will go through the shredder and contaminate
the shredder residue.
59. Once components have been removed from a vehicle,
Member States are to encourage the reuse of components that can
be reused, and the recovery of components that cannot be reused.
Implementation of the Directive in the UK
60. The Government fully supports the Directive in particular
because of the environmental benefits that it will bring to the
UK. Although the Directive was to be transposed into UK law by
21 April 2002, transposition will be late, as it is in a number
of other Member States, as the Government is keen to avoid rushing
the implementation of as complex a Directive as this one. Consultation
with Industry on the most appropriate form of implementation in
the UK is continuing. DEFRA is to issue a consultation paper shortly
on the draft regulations to implement Article 6 and Annex I of
the Directive which relates to treatment facility standards and
WEEE AND ROHS DIRECTIVES
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
The European Commission adopted a proposal on Waste of Electronic
and Electrical Equipment Directive (WEEE) on 13 June 2000. Political
agreement on a Common Position was reached at June 2001 Environment
Council. The European Parliament's plenary vote following their
second reading took place on 8-11 April. There is likely to be
a conciliation period and the final texts are expected to emerge
in late 2002. We will then have 18 months to transpose the Directive
in national legislation.
The WEEE Directive is a producer responsibility Directive,
the key provisions which are that:
(a) Member States are to set up systems for the separate
collection of WEEE, distributors (retailers) must take back WEEE
when they sell a similar new item, either in store or through
(b) Producers are to set up systems for the treatment
of WEEE (a set of treatment requirements is given). and producers
are to provide for the recovery and reuse of separately collected
WEEE (percentage recovery and re-use recycling targets are given).
61. The Directive applies to EEE falling under ten categories
including all components, sub-assemblies and consumables, which
are part of the product at the time of discarding. A list of products
falling under each of these categories is given in the Annexes
to the Directive. Military equipment is excluded. "Electrical
and electronic equipment" or "EEE" is defined as
equipment which is:
62. dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic
fields in order to work properly; or
63. for the generation, transfer and measurement of such
currents and fields falling under the categories set out in Annex
1A and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000
Volt for alternating current and 1500 Volt for direct current.
64. The objectives of the WEEE Directive include prevention
of WEEE, a reduction in the disposal of waste through the re-use,
recycling and other forms of recovery of WEEE and the improved
environmental performance of all operators involved in the lifecycle
of electrical and electronic equipment, eg. producers, distributors
(retailers), consumers and, in particular, operators directly
involved in the treatment of WEEE.
In order to reduce the hazardousness of WEEE the treatment
65. Removal of all fluids and certain substances, preparations
and components from any separately collected WEEE (eg lead, mercury).
These must be disposed of or recovered in compliance with Article
4 of Directive 75/442/EC.
66. Member States may set up minimum quality standards
for the treatment of collected WEEE.
67. Treatment is to be carried out by licensed operators
and Member States shall ensure that treatment facilities store
and treat WEEE in compliance with given technical requirements.
68. In addition, the collection provisions require that
Member States may provide for specific arrangements for the return
of WEEE if the equipment has been contaminated during use, and
makes particular reference to radioactive and biological contaminants.
69. In its proposed amendments, the European Parliament
has proposed a total ban on the disposal of WEEE in the household
70. Producers must also provide treatment facilities
with the information that they need in order to comply with the
provisions of the Directive, as well as on the location of substances
and preparations in EEE which are considered dangerous under Directive
67/548/EC or Directive 1999/45/EC. In its proposed amendments,
the European Parliament has proposed that Member States should
ensure that users are given the necessary information about the
presence of hazardous substances in EEE.
Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in EEE
71. The ROHS Directive is also a producer responsibility
Directive, the key provisions of which are:
72. To substitute lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent
chromium, and certain flame retardants (PBB and PBDEs) in electrical
and electronic equipment.
To exempt certain applications where no substitute is available
(a committee procedure for adding and removing exemptions and
agreeing acceptable levels of substances in specific materials
and components is proposed).
73. The ROHS Directive is being negotiated alongside
the WEEE Directive. Its main objectives are:
74. To approximate the laws of the Member States on the
restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in electrical
and electronic equipment.
75. To contribute to the protection of human health and
the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of waste electrical
and electronic equipment.
76. The Directive is expected to come into effect 1 January
2007 (although the European Parliament has voted in favour of
moving this forward to 1 January 2006).
77. The Waste Oil Directive contains a series of requirements
designed to ensure the safe management of waste lubricating oils.
Member States must give priority to the regeneration of waste
oil, where regeneration is defined as recycling to produce a usable
lubricant. No regeneration currently takes place in the UK, the
last facility having closed down in 2000.
78. The European Commission has issued a Reasoned Opinion
in relation to what it sees as the UK's failure to promote regeneration.
This is one of nine parallel infraction cases brought against
Member States following an ECJ ruling against Germany. The Government
is considering a range of measures to promote waste oil regeneration.
It was announced in Budget 2002 that Customs and Excise would
be consulting on the possibility of applying excise duty to waste
oil burned as a fuel (it is currently free from duty). This would
send out a signal in favour of regeneration and help to bridge
the significant economic gap between combustion and regeneration.
79. Where waste oil is burned as a fuel, the Directive
specifies emission limits that must be applied. These emission
limits will be superseded by those in the Waste Incineration Directive,
when it comes into force in December 2002 for new plants and 2005
for existing plants.
80. The proposed new batteries directive may seek:
81. To extend the scope of the present Directive to all
battery types rather than just those containing mercury, lead
82. Restrictions on the sale of nickel cadmium batteries
83. Collection and recycling targets of between 50-75
per cent for all batteries.
84. The UK is keen to await the results of a Belgian
risk assessment into cadmium and targeted risk assessment on nickel
cadmium batteries before considering a possible NiCd ban. A ban
could have serious implications for our nickel refiners and power
85. The UK supports demanding but achievable collection
targets for consumer batteries. Recycling levels for industrial
and automotive batteries already exceed 75 per cent.
86. Hazardous Waste Minimisation.
Action on chemicals
87. Phase-out of chemicals will have longer-term benefits
in terms of hazardous waste management, although it may cause
increases in particular wastes in the shorter-term, eg POPs from
The European Commission's White Paper for a future chemicals
policy was published in February 2001 and proposed a new system
for the assessment and management of risks from chemicals placed
on the market. The proposed system known as REACH, includes a
new element of authorisation for the most hazardous chemicals.
It is likely that the these will include carcinogenic, mutagenic
and reproductive toxins (CMR) and persistent organic pollutants
(POPs) and possibly also persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic
(PBT) substances and very persistent and very bioaccumulative
(vPvB) substances however there is some disagreement between the
European Council and Parliament about the latter substances. The
UK supports their inclusion.
In the longer term the authorisation system may include known
endocrine disrupters when validated test methods are available
and sensitisers. Again UK supports their inclusion. The Commission
has been working with stakeholders on the major issues and proposals
for the new European legislation on chemicals are expected later
88. The authorisation of the most hazardous chemicals
should result (eventually) in these no longer being used or present
in products and thus reduction in their presence in industrial
and household waste. The new legislation is intended to cover
imports into the EU-however it is not yet clear how products will
89. The Stockholm Convention on POPs was adopted in May
2001 and includes specific requirements for POPs waste. Implementation
is likely to lead to increases in the levels of POPs wastes identified
by developing countries. This may result in increased imports
to countries with facilities for disposal. Ideally efforts should
be aimed at developing local capabilities for disposal. However,
incinerators are seen by many African Governments as posing a
range of problems and to date no African country has been willing
to host a regional hazardous waste treatment facility. The POPs
convention should create new opportunities for exploring new methods
of disposing of hazardous waste. A UNIDO/UNDP GEF pilot project
is planned to take this work forward.
Integrated product policy
90. One of the most effective means of reducing hazardous
waste is to minimise the use of hazardous materials in products.
Integrated product policy (IPP) approaches can help to achieve
this by ensuring that the most significant product impacts are
identified and tackled effectively, using the most appropriate
instruments or tools wherever these need to be applied in the
life cycle. Clever design and innovation at the start of a product's
life cycle helps to ensure that hazardous materials are reduced
to a minimum.
91. The Government is contributing to the development
of a policy framework on IPP at European level, and a European
Commission White Paper on IPP is expected to be published shortly.
In the UK, the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the
Environment (ACCPE) has been set up to advise on the development
of IPP approaches in this country and their practical implementation
to reduce the sustainable development impacts of consumer products.
The Government is currently considering the recommendations in
ACCPE's second report, "Action for Greener Goods" published
on 2 May.
ROHS/Annex II ELVD
92. In the longer term, these will reduce hazardous materials
in particular waste streams.
IPPC as a means of controlling waste production
93. The Directive concerning integrated pollution prevention
and control (96/61/EC)the "IPPC Directive"requires
Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure that industrial
installations covered by the Directive "are operated in such
a way that waste production is avoided in accordance with Council
Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste; [and] where waste
is produced, it is recovered or, where that is technically and
economically impossible, it is disposed of while avoiding or reducing
any impact on the environment". This requirement is embodied
in the permitting system for these installations established by
the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations
2000. The regulator (the Environment Agency or, for a minority
of smaller installations, a Local Authority) is required to determine
permit applications against this and the other requirements of
the IPPC Directive and to set permit conditions accordingly.
94. Government is keen to encourage better hazardous
waste management by industry through cleaner technology. Envirowise
(and its predecessor, the Environmental Technology Best Practice
Programme) has played an important role in promoting initiatives
that can help to reduce hazardous waste production. Its publications
have included information on reducing the use of solvents and
metal working fluids, both of which would result in the generation
of hazardous waste.
95. The Government strongly supports re-use and recycling
of hazardous waste where this is appropriate. Lubricating oil
and most organic solvents are good examples of hazardous wastes
that should be recovered for re-use wherever possible.
96. However, re-use and recycling might not be appropriate
for some particularly hazardous wastes. Obvious examples are chemicals
that have been banned, such as certain pesticides, PCBs and asbestos,
which should be destroyed or treated to remove their hazardous
97. Hazardous wastes are widely used as fuel in industrial
processes. Secondary liquid fuels, derived from selected waste
solvents and blended to a tight specification, are burned at a
number of cement and lime processes in the UK and elsewhere in
Europe. The Government considers that energy recovery is an important
part of its strategy for managing hazardous wastes provided that:
98. Stringent environmental controls are met.
99. It is not technically and economically feasible to
recycle these wastes.
100. The application of the Hazardous Waste Incineration
Directive (and subsequently the Waste Incineration Directive)
should ensure that energy recovery from hazardous waste only takes
place where the Best Available Techniques are used to minimise
101. Waste lubricating oils are burned as fuel, particularly
by operators of coal-fired power stations and roadstone coating
plants. This activity is exempt from the provisions of the Hazardous
Waste Incineration Directive and it is possible that the use of
waste oil as a fuel will be restricted once the Waste Incineration
Directive comes into force.
102. In addition, as outlined above, the Government is
committed to promoting the regeneration of waste oil, in line
with the requirements of the Waste Oil Directive.
103. It is therefore important that the Government promotes
alternative means of managing waste oil.
High temperature incineration
104. The Government is committed to the principles of
self-sufficiency and proximity in the disposal of wastes. It recognises
the importance of having available high temperature waste incinerators,
suitable for the disposal of some of the most hazardous wastes,
such as PCBs and halons. All such facilities need to meet the
standards contained in the Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive
(which will be replaced by the Waste Incineration Directive).
105. The Government also recognises that it is important
for the UK to have the capability to play a full part in the resolution
of global environmental problems, such as the destruction of stockpiles
of hazardous chemicals in developing countries. For this reason,
the UK high temperature incineration industry has a particular
106. The Government recognises that well operated and
regulated landfill has an important role to play both now and
in the future. However, it is committed to reducing the UK's reliance
on landfill, which makes little practical use of waste and is
a missed opportunity to recover value from waste, including hazardous
waste. The Government believes that landfilling of waste sits
at the bottom of the waste hierarchy and in its Waste Strategy
has set out a range of policies to promote the reduction, re-use,
recycling and recovery of waste in order to divert it from landfill.
107. The Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO)
is a tool to assist waste producers in the determining the appropriate
methods for managing their wastes. Waste Strategy 2000 indicated
that the Environment Agency and the former DETR would be developing
proposals on how to take BPEO forward, not least for key hazardous
waste streams. The Environment Agency has developed WIZARD, although
this was primarily designed to help local authorities to assess
the environmental effects of proposed waste management strategies
for dealing with municipal solid waste.
108. For many hazardous wastes the range of treatment
options that will achieve the desired outcome (a reduction in
quantity, value recovery, reduction or elimination of a hazard,
or meeting landfill acceptance criteria) is in fact very limited.
Some will require specific chemical treatment (to precipitate
dissolved metals or neutralise acids and alkalis), or can only
be incinerated (recalcitrant organics) or require specialised
recovery techniques (solvents and oils).
109. With the introduction of the landfill and incineration
directives the decisions on the management of industrial hazardous
wastes will often focus on issues such as the potential for change
to cleaner technology or to treat in house using custom designed
processes rather than seeking out waste contractors with appropriate
110. Nevertheless, there is a clear role for detailed
consideration of BPEO for particularly difficult waste streams.
Waste oils are a good example of a situation where close examination
of a range of options, a number of which may need to run in parallel,
will be vital if we are to meet the twin challenges of the Waste
Incineration Directive and the Waste Oil Directive.
THE UK SPECIAL
111. The changes to the Hazardous Waste List need to
be implemented into national law. In view of this and other recent
changes in the field of hazardous waste management, the then Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions commissioned a review
of the Special Waste Regulations from the consultants Enviros
Aspinwall. This involved extensive consultation with a wide range
of people with an interest in hazardous waste, including waste
producers, waste managers, regulators and non-governmental organisations.
The final report, published in June 2000, recommended a number
of changes to the regulations.
112. The Government has taken forward recommendations
made by Enviros Aspinwall and issued a consultation paper setting
out preliminary proposals for new hazardous waste regulations
in March 2001.
113. There were over 100 responses to this consultation,
most of which were broadly in favour of the changes proposed.
Having considered the comments made, the Government has prepared
draft legislation which it intends to issue with a second consultation
paper in June. Following this second consultation, the new regulations
are expected to be laid before Parliament in the Autumn, with
a view to their implementation early in 2003 to allow time for
hazardous waste producers and waste management companies to accommodate
114. Generally, the aim of the review is to reduce the
administrative burden imposed by the Regulations, while improving
environmental protection. More specifically, the proposals are
115. Resolve inconsistencies between the Hazardous Waste
Directive/List and the Special Waste Regulations, whilst maintaining
the possibility of exceptionally adopting a different approach
domestically, in the interests of environmental protection;
116. Encourage reductions in the amount of hazardous
waste produced to limit disposal problems due to implementation
of the Landfill Directive, consistent with the Waste Strategy;
117. Continue to provide an audit trail for hazardous
waste and improve its management by both waste producers and the
waste management industry;
118. Reduce the administrative burden on the waste industry
and the Environment Agency by removing the requirement to pre-notify
movements of waste and by replacing the need for the Environment
Agency to process individual consignment notes with a new requirement
for quarterly summary returns; and
119. Shift the burden of responsibility onto the producer,
rather than the recycler or disposer of the waste and establish
a requirement for all producers of hazardous waste to register
with the Environment Agency.
120. Household hazardous waste is currently excluded
from the scope of the Hazardous Waste Directive, and thus the
Special Waste Regulations (with, in the case of the SWR, the exception
of asbestos waste). The European Commission had intended to make
a proposal for a Household Hazardous Waste Directive, but this
has never emerged.
121. Nevertheless, under the new Hazardous Waste List,
various household or municipal wastes may be classified as hazardous
if they are separately collected. As a consequence, where hazardous
wastes are separated out from the bulk of municipal waste, they
must be treated as hazardous. This could happen as a result of
separate collection or sorting at, for example, civic amenity
122. The Government is clearly anxious not to discourage
either separate collection of household hazardous waste or the
proper management of local authority waste facilities. To this
end, Government will work closely with local authorities to ensure
that they are fully involved in the implementation of the new
hazardous waste list.
123. We shall also work with local authorities and other
stakeholders to explore innovative ways of promoting the safe
management of household hazardous wastes. In order to take this
debate forward, it will consider whether additional information
should be collected through the next municipal waste survey.
124. Any successful policy to improve the management
of waste must be based on sound evidence and data. Availability
of robust data has been a long-standing problem in the waste sector
and Government, the Environment Agency and the waste industry
have taken steps to address this.
125. As in other areas, good quality data is also necessary
to measure performance, for example against the hazardous waste
sustainable development indicator, or any indicators developed
under the European Commission's Sixth Action Plan.
126. Better data is available for hazardous waste than
for many other wastes as a result of the system of consignment
notes that is required by under the Special Waste Regulations.
These provide information on the type, quantity and origin and
destination of hazardous wastes. A register of special waste moved
from any site must be kept for three years. The system is monitored
by the Environment Agency and data fed into its Special Waste
127. Nevertheless, more needs to be done. Significant
improvements in the reliability of data on hazardous waste should
result from the proposed changes to the Special Waste Regulations,
particularly producer registration.
128. While Government can set a policy framework for
waste management, the market-led nature of the industry in the
UK means that it cannot exercise direct control. Real progress
will only be made with hazardous waste management if all stakeholders
work together and communicate effectively.
129. Government clearly has a major facilitative role
to play-as it did in bringing together the parties dealing with
problems surrounding fridge disposal. However, it is also important
that Government is actively engaged in this process. In particular,
it needs to work closely with:
130. The Environment Agencythe input of
the Environment Agency is vital to the success of virtually all
of the measures discussed in this Memorandum. Good practice-such
as the early involvement of the Agency in the design of the review
of the Special Waste Regulations-needs to built upon.
131. Local authoritieslocal authorities
will be increasingly involved in the management of hazardous waste
as the new hazardous waste list comes into effect and many everyday
wastes are classified as hazardous. It is essential that local
authorities are consulted and involved from any early stage and
provided with guidance and other necessary resources.
132. The waste industryvirtually all investment
in waste management infrastructure will originate from the private
sector. Government needs to keep industry informed, and to work
with industry to gather information, in order that necessary investment
decisions can be taken with confidence.
133. The next five years will see radical changes in
the way that hazardous wastes are managed in the UK. Many more
wastes will be classified as hazardous, including a number that
arise from almost every home and commercial building. The long-standing
practice of co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes
in the same landfill site will cease. A number of hazardous wastes
will be banned from landfill altogether. In addition, a whole
range of additional measures, such as the Directives on ELVs and
WEEE will impinge on the way that particular types of hazardous
wastes are managed.
134. Against this background, the Government will take
steps to ensure that these measures are implemented proportionately,
in an integrated way and so as to provide a high level of environmental
protection in an efficient manner.