This Alert contains brief details of recent Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in municipal waste management, which have been published in the past month. 

Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet. All links are correct at the date of publication.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

The following topics are covered in this update:

   Hazardous Waste    Recycling
   Landfill    Statistics
   Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste to Energy
   Packaging Waste    Waste Management
   Permitting and Licensing    Waste Minimisation


Hazardous Waste

DEFRA: A strategy for hazardous waste management in England: this strategy underpins the practical application of the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 and in particular the requirements that apply to hazardous waste. It aims to clarify how the requirements of the revised Directive should be implemented, particularly the revised waste hierarchy with respect to the management of hazardous waste. The strategy is also intended to facilitate the provision of infrastructure for the management of hazardous waste. It includes six high level principles for the management of hazardous waste and a set of outline decision trees to assist waste producers and waste managers to make the right decisions about the management of their waste and the investment in infrastructure to help move hazardous waste management up the waste hierarchy. (18 March 2010)

Environment Agency: Classification of electronic display devices: sets out the process for deciding whether monitors and other electronic display equipment such as liquid crystal display (LCDs) and plasma televisions should be classified as hazardous waste. (24 March 2010)

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DEFRA: Consultation on the introduction of restrictions on the landfilling of certain wastes: seeks views on options for introducing new policy measures to restrict biodegradable and recyclable wastes from landfill in England and Wales, including: 
  • doing nothing and relying on current measures to continue to reduce the amount sent to landfill; 
  • introducing bans on landfilling on their own or accompanied by a requirement for waste to be sorted; 
  • introducing a sorting or tougher pre-treatment requirement without a landfill ban; and 
  • introducing producer responsibility requirements for certain wastes.

This is a first stage consultation on the options under consideration for restricting wastes from landfill,  intended to identify preferred option(s) which could be taken forward if desirable, practical and affordable. If Government decides change is desirable a second stage consultation will follow containing further detail on the preferred option(s) and the way any restriction or requirement would be introduced and who the onus would fall upon and accompanied by draft regulations to implement these option(s). This consultation closes on 10 June 2010. (18 March 2010)

DEFRA: Consultation on meeting EU landfill diversion targets: seeks views on the changes necessary to enable the UK to report to the European Commission on a revised approach to the landfill diversion targets. This includes: setting out the new interpretation of the definition of municipal waste; revisions to the 1995 baseline and targets; and the reporting and monitoring obligations necessary to enable robust reporting against the targets to the European Commission at a UK level. For England only it also seeks views on the future of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme, and the most effective combination of policies DEFRA should pursue, that address both the local authority and private sector elements of municipal waste, to provide the necessary confidence that England meets its targets. The consultation closes on 10 June 2010. (18 March 2010)

WRAP: Landfill bans – feasibility research: this report is designed to inform the UK governments on the potential of bans or restrictions to contribute to resource efficiency and reduce the climate change impact of managing wastes. The study examined the environmental and economic costs and benefits and practical feasibility of banning or restricting a range of materials, products and wastes by property type from landfill. It found that combining materials-based restrictions with a requirement to sort offers the greatest benefits and is most feasible in the UK policy context. (18 March 2010)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

DEFRA: Businesses, government and campaign groups unite to cut litter: announces that major brands from the fast food, fizzy drinks and chewing gum industries are coming together for the first time to forming a partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, government representatives and local authorities to stamp out litter. (23 March 2010)

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Packaging Waste

DEFRA: Grocery waste sent packing: announces agreement of Phase 2 of the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement with grocery and traditional non-grocery manufacturers and retailers on reducing packaging waste. Phase 2 will run from April 2010 to December 2012 and will: reduce the carbon impact of grocery packaging through reducing the weight, increasing the recycling rates, and increasing the recycled content of grocery packaging; help consumers reduce the amount of food they waste; and cut food and packaging waste throughout the supply chain. (4 March 2010)

DEFRA: Consultation on implementing the Packaging Strategy - Recovery and recycling targets, funding transparency and technical changes: seeks views on a number of proposed changes to the producer responsibility regime for packaging waste, including proposed packaging targets for 2011-20 which aim for an overall recycling rate of 70% by 2020,  plans to increase the transparency of the producer responsibility regime, and a number of technical changes. The consultation closes on 27 May 2010. (4 March 2010)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Waste exemptions review – regulatory position statements: the Agency has issued a number of Regulatory Position Statements on low risk waste after the new waste exemption system comes into effect on 6 April 2010: 

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WRAP: Environmental benefits of recycling: provides an updated review of life cycle comparisons for key materials in the UK recycling sector. In 2006 WRAP published a major research report, Environmental Benefits of Recycling, based on an international review of life cycle analyses that evaluated the impact on the environment of recycling, landfilling or incineration of key materials in UK waste streams. Its conclusion was clear – most studies show that recycling offers more environmental benefits and lower environmental impacts than the other waste management options. (16 March 2010)

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Eurostat: Environment in the EU27 - 40% of municipal waste recycled or composted in 2008: statistical release on the amount  of municipal waste generated per person and amount landfilled, incinerated, recycled or composted, with a table setting out the figures for each Member State. (19 March 2010) 

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Waste to Energy
DEFRA: Accelerating the uptake of anaerobic digestion in England: an implementation plan: provides a framework for boosting biogas production from anaerobic digestion (AD) to help tackle climate change and produce renewable energy. It sets out actions to help businesses, local authorities, farmers and food producers to adopt the AD technology, which transforms organic material like manure and waste food into fuel. The measures include financial incentives such as grants, a £10m programme of demonstration sites across the country, and a new research unit to test out the latest technology. (25 March 2010)

DECC: Consultation on the grandfathering policy of support for dedicated biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste under the Renewables Obligation: this consultation results from concerns raised by a number of developers and investors in the biomass industry over the current lack of grandfathering of support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) for biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste. Grandfathering is the policy intention that, once accredited, a generator receives a set level of support over its period of eligibility for the RO. This paper seeks views on a review of DECC’s current grandfathering policy for dedicated biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste and whether its preferred option is the best way forward. The consultation closes on 28 May 2010. (31 March 2010) 

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Waste Management

DEFRA / DBIS: “Less is more” – business opportunities in waste & resource management: this report outlines opportunities for business in the growing waste and recycling sector across the product supply chain, from design through to waste management. It identifies that the area of greatest business opportunity lies in reducing or eliminating waste at source, when materials have most value and none of the costs of disposal or treatment have been incurred. These opportunities occur throughout the supply chain and across all businesses. It also looks at opportunities for new business models to be applied to existing markets, and for the improved collection and sorting of waste from smaller companies and commercial premises, allowing the value in these materials to be recovered. DEFRA and BIS will work with the waste management sector and major business producers of waste to transform the perceptions of waste, to focus on it as managed resource, rather than simply a cost for business to bear. (16 March 2010)

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Waste Minimisation

National Audit Office: Reducing the impact of business waste through the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste Programme: this reports reviews DEFRA’s BREW programme. It finds that, while the amount of harmful business waste sent to landfill has fallen, most of this reduction relates to construction, excavation and demolition waste which is less harmful to the environment. The report states that it is difficult to determine the extent to which the programme, as opposed to other factors such as the increase in landfill tax and the recession, has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill. The NAO was unable to conclude whether the spending was value for money because DEFRA had not set specific, quantified targets for the programme and it lacked reliable information on performance. (5 March 2010)

DEFRA: Bristol City waste incentive scheme proposal received: announces Bristol City Council has applied for funding to run a pilot "pay as you throw" scheme for six months that will cover 2,362 properties on two refuse collection routes in Bishopston, Cotham and Redland, under which householders would receive £0.50 per kilo of waste reduced compared to average waste levels. The scheme would be voluntary with people having to opt-in, and capped at £17.50 a year. The proposal is intended to cut the amount of waste householders create, and increase the amount reused and recycled. Collection vehicles would be fitted with weighing equipment so that they can weigh the bins each week and record the weight on specialist software. The amount of waste residents need to reduce by will be calculated in kilograms and worked out per person, to take into account the number of people living in a household. (8 March 2010)

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