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Less hazardous waste sent to landfill shows new report

Less hazardous waste is being sent to landfill, 60% less than in 2004, and more of it is being treated and recycled shows latest figures release today (Thursday) by Environment Agency.

Martin Brocklehurst, Head of External Programmes at the Environment Agency, said: “Today's figures show that more hazardous waste such as chemical wastes, contaminated soils and fridges are being treated and recycled, which is good news for our environment.

“As new legislation like the Landfill Directive and Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Regulations kick in, we're starting to see a shift in how we deal with hazardous waste. We sent 60% less hazardous waste to landfill last year when compared to 2004, which shows business and industry are adapting to the changes.

In 2006, six million tonnes of waste was classified as hazardous waste in England and Wales – up by 12% compared to 2004 – the last year for which we have a complete set of data.

Martin Brocklehurst continued: “In part this increase can be attributed to changes in the rules on hazardous waste. It meant that more waste was classified as hazardous and so had to be handled differently.”

Others findings from the Hazardous Waste Data Update 2006 include:

The quantity of hazardous waste that went to landfill fell by 1.4 million tonnes to 900,000 tonnes – down 60% since 2004.
Recycling/re-use of hazardous waste increased to 1.3 million tonnes – up by more than 50% on 2004. Key business sectors such as the oil and solvents industry are producing less hazardous waste.

Martin Brocklehurst added: “Businesses have an important role in reducing how much hazardous waste they produced. A forward-thinking Hampshire printing and graphics company has virtually eliminated producing hazardous waste from its operations after taking advantage of an EU funded project.”

HAZRED, led by the Environment Agency with EU funding, has over the past three years helped small businesses across six priority sectors, including construction, metal treatment and printing processes, manage and reduce hazardous waste more efficiently.

Greenhouse Graphics, based near Basingstoke, offers in-house commercial design and print facilities and after taking up advice from a HAZRED advisor, they put in to place one of HAZRED's Hazardous Waste Reduction Plan available online at www.hazred.org.uk tailored to their sector.

Managing Director Ian Crossley said: “We wanted our services to be the natural choice for those wanting to demonstrate a commitment to 'greener' printing. By changing our processes and making small changes like switching to vegetable oil based inks and recycling our ink, we were able to reduce and almost stop producing hazardous waste.”

The Environment Agency is currently revising its guidance and enforcement priorities for those involved in the production and management of hazardous waste. The new guidance puts the onus on producers of hazardous waste to ensure their outputs are properly classified and treated, and clearly sets out the legal obligations of waste management operators to reflect recent changes in the coding, treatment, recovery and disposal of hazardous waste.

The focus of enforcement action by the Environment Agency will be on those who mis-describe hazardous waste. By the end of June 2008, it expects:

the mixing of hazardous waste during treatment to cease
hazardous wastes with high organic carbon content to no longer be disposed of to landfill all outputs from hazardous waste treatment facilities to be classified and coded in accordance with the Classification and Coding Guidance.

For more information and to download the Hazardous Waste Data Update 2006, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/hazwasteupdate2006.

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