Environment Agency Finds Companies Mismanaging Hazardous Waste

A recent letter to CIWM from the Environment Agency highlighted that some companies have been found to be misclassifying and mismanaging hazardous waste as a result of using out of date information

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: “This is a complex area of waste regulation and also extremely important in terms of the potential environmental and health impacts of misclassification and mismanagement.

“The Environment Agency is quite rightly working collaboratively with industry organisations to get the message out and as the professional body for the waste and resources sector, CIWM is committed to supporting its efforts to tackle these misclassification issues.

Steve Lee, CIWM – “I would urge practitioners for whom this is relevant to refer to the Agency’s letter and supporting Annexe, and also to disseminate this information to colleagues and contacts as appropriate”

“I would urge practitioners for whom this is relevant to refer to the Agency’s letter and supporting Annexe, and also to disseminate this information to colleagues and contacts as appropriate.

“CIWM’s remit is to drive and encourage high standards of competence and compliance and the Institution is also currently reviewing its training provision to ensure that we can continue to help CIWM members and others to keep their knowledge up-to-date and accurate with regard to hazardous waste assessment, classification and management.”

Letter in full:

Misclassification of hazardous waste 

Tackling misclassification of waste is a priority for us and we would like to raise some concerns with you and ask for your assistance in communicating these issues to your members. 

Correct assessment and classification of waste is essential to help ensure it is properly managed. We have recently found that a number of companies are carrying out waste assessments using out of date information and as a result they are misclassifying and mismanaging hazardous wastes. This could pose a serious risk to people and the environment, as well as undermining those waste businesses who are correctly assessing and classifying their wastes. 

New hazardous waste criteria are being introduced next summer, and although this is unlikely to change many classifications, it will mean that companies will need to review their assessment procedures. For those whose current assessment procedures are up to date, the change is likely to be smooth, but for those whose assessment procedures are already incorrect they may find a number of areas where they need to make changes to their practices. 

We have already provided advice to members of our hazardous waste treatment group. To help further raise awareness we would like your help in encouraging your members to review their assessment procedures to ensure they are correct and up to date. We would recommend that this should include a review of internal or commercially available tools they may use. Your members will find it helpful to refer to Technical Guidance WM2 during the review. In the Annex to this letter we have included a number of examples of problems, which may assist in these reviews.


 

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