Hazardous wood regulation leading to overcharging, WRA says


Wood recycling

RPS 250 confusion means some waste processors are overcharging to take waste wood from home refurbishments and in some cases have stopped taking it altogether, the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) says.

Introduced in July 2021, the WRA says the Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 250 currently allows potentially hazardous “amber” waste wood items from the construction and demolition (C&D) waste stream to be moved and processed as non-hazardous.

From September 1 2023 the RPS 250 was withdrawn. At the time, the WRA said this means a small number of items from pre-2007 buildings will automatically be classified as hazardous and will not be able to be sent to wood recyclers.

The Association says the regulatory change impacts a “very small” amount of material which through testing can be reduced even further and should not cause major disruption to operations.

According to the WRA, householders who are responsible for their own renovation waste wood are not impacted by the regulatory change and can continue to take the material to their local household waste recycling centres as normal.

However, if they use a third-party contractor to handle renovation wood waste then these contractors must update their procedures and protocols.

We are talking about a very small quantity of material from a very specific time frame.

This means the contractors can no longer move and process ten “amber” waste wood items as non-hazardous, which the RPS previously permitted and instead have to identify and consign them as hazardous unless they obtain testing to certify it is not hazardous.

The Association wants to reduce this list further and is urging businesses to send samples off for testing to check if they’re hazardous or not. The WRA says this will allow them to put the case to the Environment Agency that some or all of these items are still non-hazardous and can be removed from the list.

The WRA says the change relates to a “very small quantity of wood” with invisible treatments from buildings built between 1950 and 2007 and does not include painted wood or wood with hazardous treatments like creosote.

Vicki Hughes, Technical Lead on the WRA Board, commented: “We are talking about a very small quantity of material from a very specific time frame, which is quite hard to find.

“We understand that some processors are getting confused about how much is involved and are charging excessive additional costs for disposal or testing. We are concerned that this could lead to good wood being sent needlessly for hazardous waste disposal and artificially inflate the UK’s hazardous waste wood figures.”

The WRA says it has been feeding its concerns back to the Environment Agency and having “constructive discussions”.

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