Companies that transform waste into chemical substances to sell within the European Union need to ensure compliance with the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restrictions of chemicals regulation or face hefty fines, warned industry experts.
The REACH regulation, which became fully operational in the UK in June 2008, applies to recovered waste once the chemicals have been recovered and purified from the waste and it officially ceases to be waste under the EU Waste Directive. Waste itself as defined by the Waste Framework Directive is excluded from REACH by not being classified as a substance.
BMT is a consultancy that offers clients advice on the REACH regulation. BMT REACH representative services head Damien Carson told MRW that each chemical must be pre-registered and/or registered by each company manufacturing or importing this chemical in the EU in excess of one tonne per year. Each company is then required to submit a full registration unless they intend to terminate manufacture or import after the relevant deadline has been reached in 2012/13/18.
Carson used the example of battery firms transforming waste into chemical substances and said if they can trace the chemicals recovered from the waste stream back to an original registration by the manufacturer or importer, these chemicals can be marketed in the EU using the original registration, as long as they can confirm that it is the same substance.
He explained: I would suggest if companies intend on reprocessing waste and its components into chemicals in the EU they need to carry out a supply chain audit and be able to trace the evidence of registration under Article two part seven of the REACH legislation. Otherwise the company will need to consider full registration to keep this area of their business in compliance with REACH.
Firms in the UK that fail to comply with the law face an unlimited fine if they continue to market chemicals in the EU that are not pre-registered or registered.
Carson warned that if the waste product comes from outside the EU, there may not be an original registration to use. In this case, the firm recovering a substance in excess of one tonne per year will have to register this chemical under REACH. However, if the firm recovering chemicals from non-EU waste that has no traceable REACH registration and has not pre-registered, Carson advises that firm, to suspend further recovering activities until full registration is completed.
The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for the enforcement of REACH in the UK.