Environment Agency Launches Online Waste Assessment Tool

A tool to help businesses be more resource efficient by putting their waste back to work has been launched by the Environment Agency and a number of waste and resource sector organisations.

The IsItWaste 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 Minister, Dan Rogerson, said: “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.”

Paul Leinster, Environment Agency
Paul Leinster, Environment Agency

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.

Speaking at the launch event in the Palace of Westminster, Environment Agency chief executive Paul Leinster said: “The Environment Agency is launching the IsItWaste tool today. It helps businesses navigate a complex area of legislation as they seek to transform their waste into useful products. This has environmental and economic benefits.”

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.

Paul Leinster, Environment Agency – “The Environment Agency is launching the IsItWaste tool today. It helps businesses navigate a complex area of legislation as they seek to transform their waste into useful products. This has environmental and economic benefits”

The programme partners are the Environment Agency, CIWM, the Environmental Services Association, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, the Organics Recycling Group, and Energy UK.

“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.”

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 HERE


 

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