The Waste Prevention Programme for England published last December (See CIWM Journal Online story) committed Government to providing clarification on the application of the definition of waste to re-use and repair activities.
In order to fully examine the issue it’s asking for general feedback from stakeholders on specific examples on experiences where the definition of waste has acted as a barrier to re-use and repair activities
Defra is also asking for suggestions for changes that might support growth in the re-use and repair sector.
The discussion paper supplied to stakeholders over the issue is an introduction to the definition of waste, its application to re-use and repair activities and some of the problems that may occur.
CIWM chief executive, Steve Lee – “This is a long standing ‘complaint’ from some quarters about regulation hampering re-use. Intuitively, I can see that could be the case – managing ‘waste’ has responsibilities and costs compared to non-wastes and the margins on re-use are almost always going to be tight”
“Whilst it will not capture all of the issues relating to the definition of waste, it does aim to progress discussion on the issues, table some conclusions, and suggest a way forward,” Defra states.
In order to tackle identified barriers, Defra said it will constitute a working group in winter 2014/15 consisting of the enforcement authorities, Wrap, representatives of the re-use/repair sector and the devolved administrations;
Through this working group it will examine the issues covered by the paper with a view to developing an action plan, and develop trial approaches in different sectors to help remove barriers to re-use and repair brought about through the current application of the definition of waste.
CIWM chief executive, Steve Lee, said: “This is a long standing complaint from some quarters about regulation hampering re-use. Intuitively, I can see that could be the case – managing waste has responsibilities and costs compared to non-wastes and the margins on re-use are almost always going to be tight… hence the concentration of not for profit organisations in the market.
“Interestingly, it’s not just waste regulations that is an issue here – second-hand appliances need to be every bit as safe as new ones – but harder, and therefore more costly, to check and approve… and old items could well include substances that are now banned in new appliances or operate less efficiently than new products – so you can see its a complex set of standards and additional costs involved.
“However – checking the waste status of second-hand goods etc. is a good place to start and this request for real-life examples from people actually engaged in the business is welcome.”