Five months on since the new rules on landfilling waste came into force, the Environment Agency today (Tuesday) announced it expects the waste management industry, particularly landfill operators, to start taking a tougher line on the waste they accept from businesses for disposal.
Liz Parkes, Head of Waste at the Environment Agency, said: “We've been taking a sensible approach to enforcing these new rules, which since 30 October 2007 require waste to be treated before it is landfilled.
“We accepted that not all businesses would be aware of the rules from day one, so we worked with the waste management industry to raise awareness amongst businesses and encourage them to change their waste management practices. We also allowed landfill operators to accept waste without evidence that it had been treated. This was to allow time for those waste producers who were unaware of the new rules to change the way they handle their waste.”The feedback we have had from the waste management industry and business tells us that the system is working well and delivering real environmental benefits. The waste management industry is also telling us they are ready for us to take a tougher line with those who break the rules. So from 30 April we expect landfill operators to obtain written evidence from their customers that waste has been pre-treated.”The rule changes mean businesses who produce or manage waste going to landfill must check whether it is being treated. If it isn't, they will need to treat it themselves or ensure that their waste management contractor does this for them.Treatment can be as simple as separating different wastes at source, and recycling one or more of the separated components. At the same date liquid wastes were banned from landfill. Businesses who produce liquid waste have had to find alternative disposal methods, often in discussion with their waste management contractor.Liz Parkes continued: “We are continuing to work with business and the waste management industry to get the message across and there is help available from a range of sources to help businesses meet the new rules. Speak to your waste management contractor or your trade association, or visit our website at www.environment agency.gov.uk/landfilldirective for simple, straight-forward guidance.”Dirk Hazell, Chief Executive at the Environmental Services Association, a trade body representing the UK's waste management and secondary resources industry, said: “We hope waste producers will work with us to make a success of these changes.”It is really important that waste producers ensure they provide the right information to their waste management company to ensure compliance with the Landfill Directive.”
Liz Parkes added: “Much of the waste we send to landfill is already treated, however for some wastes more effort is needed. There are many easy ways for business to treat waste that deliver real environmental benefits.”We will play our part by monitoring compliance with these rules under our programme of regular inspection and audit of landfills. Where necessary we will take enforcement action in line with our enforcement policy.A comprehensive range of fact sheets and guidance, available to download from www.environment-agency.gov.uk/landfilldirective or by calling 08708 506 506.