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Feature: Has hazardous waste been neglected?

The words ‘flexible’ and ‘choice’ are now much in use when it comes to discussing methods of compliance for the Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

The options of either joining the Retail Compliance Scheme (RCS) or providing in-store take- back are available to ensure that obligations are met. However, a number of details still need to be filled in, not least when it comes to hazardous waste.

Although the RCS would provide an upgrade fund for civic amenity (CA) sites to become designated collection facilities (DCFs), designed to pay for hardstanding, weatherproofing and signage, there is as yet no spe-
cification for a DCF
for local authorities to work to.

In addition, many CA sites do not have hazardous waste licences and there is already concern over mass applications and how they will be paid for. This could prove rather tricky for any site intending to take items such as TVs and computer monitors.

Speaking at the National Household Hazardous Waste Forum’s autumn seminar, Craig Anderson, development manager at the Furniture Re-use Network, raised the issue of WEEE segregation and the potential loss of revenue.

The number of categories that WEEE is to be sep-arated into at CA sites is yet to be confirmed, and could present a serious problem in terms of space restrictions. Alongside possible contract renegotiations and extra staffing, many local authorities have said that the money on offer from the upgrade fund just is not enough.

And, according to Anderson, this is not the only disagreement over money: “Producers don’t want all the hazardous products back and for local authorities to keep what can be sold. They want the money to offset the costs.”

The seminar addressed the implications of the WEEE Directive in terms
of household hazardous waste reuse and recycling, with separation and
collection as recurring issues.

According to Tony Knowles, commercial manager of Weymouth and Sherborne Recycling, the collection of TVs is fraught with problems and could potentially be as difficult as the early days of fridge recycling. With a “phenomenal” number of potential arisings in the next few months, Knowles said
that correct handling is essential.

“We have spent the past 12 months experimenting with different stillage designs,” he said.

“Collection and loading is paramount, but no-one seems to have given this much thought. We would like some guidance from compliance schemes about how to go forward in the sharp end of collection.

“This is a real grey area in terms of costing and pricing, and we are extremely naïve if we think that, come next year, local authorities can simply hand over to producers.”


HAZARDOUS WASTE REGULATIONS

There are four sets of regulations applicable to England and Wales that came into force on July 16 2005:

The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales Regulations) 2005

The Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005 (together referred to as Hazardous Waste Regulations)

The List of Waste (England) Regulations 2005

The List of Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005 (together referred to as List of Waste Regulations).

These regulations:

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