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End of Waste Conference debates how the industry can maximise the potential of end of waste and quality protocols

Experts from the glass, paper, plastics and organics recycling sectors discussed and debated the current status of EU end of waste criteria at the End of Waste and Quality Protocols Conference in London last week. (30th January).

At the event, organised by letsrecycle.com, concerns were raised about the quality of materials, cross-border variations in rules and regulations and that the status for glass is only eligible when used in remelt. Regulations are currently in place for iron, steel and aluminium scrap and glass cullet, with a number of other materials currently being addressed.

Session one addressed regulation and policy, with Fiona Ross, Associate at Pinsent Masons, speaking about the legal aspects of end of waste, including practical issues when making an end of waste case.

This was followed by the regulator’s perspective from Roger Hoare, Environment and Business Manager at the Environment Agency. Practical guidance on how to achieve end of waste was provided by Diana Bradford, senior team leader from the EQual programme. This service provides organisations with web tools to help them assess whether waste derived materials can achieve end of waste criteria, supported by field trial examples.

Session two addressed issues relating to specific materials, followed by a panel debate chaired by 360 Environmental’s Phil Conran. Stuart Pohler, Recovered Paper Sector Manager at the Confederation of Paper Industries, outlined why he welcomed the vetoeing of the legislation for the paper sector, due to concerns about a reduction in quality and recycling rates. Ulrich Ix, President of the European Federation of Glass Recyclers, spoke about logistical issues across country borders since glass cullet has been included in the regulations, whilst highlighting that benefits have outweighed concerns.

Nina Sweet OBE, Organics Sector Specialist from WRAP, reviewed the current situation with regard to biowaste, which is currently under EU consultation. Her presentation came on the same day that a quality protocol for biomethane was launched. A number of quality protocols are available for various waste streams, under a joint Environment Agency and WRAP initiative to help organisations turn waste into resource.

In session three, Peter Davis, Director General from the British Plastics Federation, spoke about two main issues for the plastics sector, which is currently under end of waste consideration. These were the limit level for non-plastics contamination – which has been set at 2% – and the content of substances of very high concern (SVHC) and hazardous waste input.

Paul Cauldwell, Business Development Director, IQR Solutions, spoke about quality standards in refuse derived fuels markets. This was followed by a case study from Iris Soler, National Environmental Permitting Manager, Veolia Environmental Services, illustrating work being undertaken to divert waste from landfill.

Throughout the day, delegates were invited to put forward questions which were then raised and debated in session four, looking at how the industry can maximise the potential of end of waste.

Steve Eminton, Editor of letsrecycle.com, who opened the conference, said: "Challenges include how and when waste can qualify as a product and the quality of the material. Our event gave delegates the opportunity to voice pros and cons related to the regulations. Attendees working within waste and recycling, local government, industry forums and those providing industry support services, gained clarification and further insight on what is still a complex and relatively unknown subject."

Environment Media Group manages its own conferences, as well as events on behalf of trade associations and private businesses. The 2014 event calendar is available at http://www.letsrecycle.com/events/events-calendar. For further information, please contact Daniella Jarvie-Thomas at Environment Media Group by emailing daniella.t@letsrecycle.com or telephone 020 7633 4524.

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