A protocol which could divert three million tonnes of industrial waste from landfill has been launched by WRAP and the Environment Agency (EA).
The quality protocol sets out criteria for the treatment of pulverised fuel ash and furnace bottom ash, defining the point at which the ash becomes a useable product instead of waste.
Both fuel and furnace bottom ash are derived from the combustion of coal, and currently contribute 3.1 million tonnes of waste to landfill a year, making it the UK’s largest industrial waste stream.
If properly processed, the ash can be used in bound materials such as blended cement, breeze blocks and grouting, and could save almost 4.5 million tonnes of virgin material from being excavated.
EA head of environment and business partnerships Martin Brocklehurst said: “We are delighted to have worked with Defra, WRAP and the power industry to agree an end-of-waste position for pulverised fuel ash. This is a classic example of better risk-based regulation in action.
“Our regulatory decision is based on scientific evidence that indicates this material can be safely used as a product. The quality protocol standard ensures that both human health and the environment are safeguarded, and that this valuable material can be reprocessed into a quality product which can be reused rather than buried in landfill.”
The quality protocol is the ninth in WRAP’s waste protocols project, and includes protocols for anaerobic digestate, tyre-derived rubber materials and waste oil-derived biodiesel.