Not everyone knows the details surrounding the changes to hazardous waste regulations and how exactly the new regime will affect them and their businesses.
Before 1 April, any company producing more than 500kg of hazardous waste a year would have to register their premises electronically with the Environment Agency (EA). This registration requirement has now been removed.
Previously, the premises code comprised a six-digit number generated when a business registered with the EA, valid for 12 months. Now the first six digits of the consignment note code (previously the premises code) must be replaced by six letters or numbers relating to the name of the business, for example. NEALES. Once selected, this code will remain in place without renewal.
The remaining five digits of the note will continue to be five letters/numbers of the waste producers/waste removal agent’s choosing, but each consignment note must be unique. Once this consignment note code has been set up, the format must be used consistently. It is important to realise that this is now the case for all hazardous waste producers, no matter the volume, meaning that even those companies producing less than 500kg are now included.
The other major change is the harmonising of Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes. Customers will now use their 2007 SIC code (currently used for non-hazardous waste removals) on the consignment note instead of the 2003 SIC codes.
The general consensus among industry is that these changes are positive, although MRW has reported that the Environmental Services Association was concerned about a loss of traceability. Businesses will save money in registration fees and in administration time so, in that respect, it is a great move. Such savings should be passed on to the customers relieving them of some of the costs involved in depositing hazardous waste.
Previously, codes were generated for the customer by the EA, which either renewed their code or generated a new one on an annual basis. Waste producers now need to be aware that, once the first six-digit code is chosen, it must be used by all hazardous waste disposal companies operating on their site.
As with any change, communication will be key. Waste management companies will have to work closely with their customers to ensure they are aware of the changes, and all external parties will have to be informed of the code changes otherwise problems could occur with future returns.
Everyone using the same code system will make the process more efficient, reduce costs and be beneficial for all parties involved.
Premises in Wales will still be expected to register with Natural Resources Wales. There will be no changes in receiving waste from Wales into England. But when consigning waste from England to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, the consignment note code will need to use the new format.
Hazardous waste producers will still need to ensure their waste is classified, separated and stored appropriately, and that an authorised business such as Neales is engaged to collect and dispose of their hazardous material.
Hazardous waste changes at a glance
- The premises code will no longer be generated by the Environment Agency every year
- Businesses will choose their own code based on their company name
- The SIC code used on consignment notes from 1 April must use the 2007 list
- All waste producers must now use a premises code no matter how much waste they produce
Chris McGuire is senior technical sales consultant for Neales Waste Management