„Is It Waste“: New tool to decide between by-product or End-of-Waste status

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Developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded EQual programme

St Peters Gardens, UK — A tool to help businesses be more resource efficient by putting their waste back to work was been launched by the Environment Agency and a number of waste and resource sector organisations. The“Is It Waste“ tool is a free, easy-to-use assessment tool that will help businesses in England to check whether a waste or surplus material is a by-product or achieves End-of-Waste status and can be considered as a product. The aim is to remove high quality waste-derived products from the scope of waste legislation to improve end market demand and confidence and allow businesses to be more resource efficient and competitive.

Commenting on the launch, Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: „This government is committed to ensuring we use our resources more carefully and the UK is now producing less waste than ever before. This reflects a lot of hard work by local authorities and businesses, and a desire from householders to cut down on waste. We all have a responsibility to tackle waste and I congratulate the Environment Agency and their partners on the new ‚Is It Waste‘ service which can help businesses save money and create new products from existing materials to generate growth and new jobs.“

To conserve virgin raw materials

„Deriving value from waste materials by turning them back into safe, high quality products is an essential element in the move towards a more circular economy,“ explains Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM. „Offering both economic and environmental benefits if supported and regulated appropriately, waste-derived products improve business resource efficiency and competitiveness, reduce reliance on landfill, and help to conserve virgin raw materials.“

Developed in close co-operation with project partner Rijkswaterstaat (the Netherlands‘ Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment), the tool provides a step-by-step approach that takes users through key decision stages including material composition, risk assessment, product use and end markets. It can also be used to submit an application to the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste panel for a formal decision if desired.

Part of the EQual programme

The web tool has been developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded EQual (Ensuring Quality of waste-derived products) programme, which aims to support and promote the re-use and recycling of waste materials whilst protecting human health and the environment. The programme partners are the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the Environmental Services Association, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, the Organics Recycling Group, and Energy UK.

12 Quality Protocols

Other business support measures introduced by the Environment Agency in this complex area of waste legislation include 12 Quality Protocols, which set out the quality requirements for certain waste-derived products to achieve End-of-Waste status. To date, the UK Quality Protocols programme has resulted in:

  • circa 40 million tonnes of materials diverted from landfill;
  • savings of around 77 million tonnes of virgin raw materials;
  • and circa 306,000 tonnes of carbon avoided.

The latest estimates suggest that by 2020, around £3.5bn in terms of increased sales and £1.5bn in terms of reduced regulatory burden will be realised.

The IsItWaste web tool and accompanying guidance is available at isitwaste.org

Source: Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)