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Setting the bar for hazardous waste

Remondis UK has invested more than £10 million in a new ‘state-of-the-art’ hazardous waste transfer and recycling facility in Merseyside. Managing director David Winstanley explains why

With increased emphasis on closed loop recycling, the waste hierarchy and a circular economy, it is more important than ever to set high standards across the waste management industry, particularly within hazardous waste. Standards have been at the forefront of planning our hazardous waste transfer and recycling facility in Prescot, Merseyside. Our ambition was to make it the most advanced facility, not just in the UK, but Europe as well. It incorporates all the best practice we have learned over the past 40 years, and, by working with academic scientific partners, we have looked to exceed existing benchmarks and set new standards.

As a recent report published by the Environmental Services Authority states, companies are prepared to make investment if there is certainty of markets, delivered through the proper enforcement of high standards of treatment. Currently there are no set standards for many of the daily processes we carry out. Setting these standards is fundamental to achieving the sector’s shared goals.  We must adopt an approach centred on protecting the environment and the conservation of resources. For this to become a reality, those operating within the hazardous waste sector must be working to a clear set of standardised procedures. We hope to use our new facility to set these standards and encourage their implementation throughout the sector. This will not just benefit Remondis but give confidence to the whole sector and its customers that risks are minimised and resources optimised.

Our Carr Lane site has its own laboratory which is fully equipped for pre-acceptance, acceptance and transfer of waste. The concepts we have developed and used throughout the waste management process include material analysis, collection and distribution logistics, sorting, conditioning and classification of wastes, processing into secondary raw materials and the manufacture of high-value, competitive products from secondary raw materials. Testing and processing waste is one of the key focuses in our effort to set standards and lead by example. We have approached a number of top universities in the UK to help us fine-tune the processes involved in testing, and ensure chemists start their careers implementing only the best methods.

The site will see operational capacity increase by more than 330%, allowing for the safe and professional processing, transfer and treatment of significant volumes of hazardous and non-hazardous waste material. It is licensed to operate 24/7, 365 days per year, which means that, as well as managing standard waste streams, it can also handle emergency spillage operations, from all over the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Waste management companies must constantly be striving to meet new and improved industry guidelines. SG 5.06 is a guidance note for the Recovery and Disposal of Hazardous and Non Hazardous Waste implemented by the Environment Agency and the Integrated Pollution Prevention Control regulatory body which aims to minimise the environmental impact of industrial operations – ours will be the first new build site in the UK fully compliant with this. Throughout the build the principles of Best Available Technique have been implemented and this is the first site in the UK to be fully contained. All waste is handled within purpose-built structures with full monitoring systems for air and liquid waste emissions, which ensures nothing leaves the site without being checked.

We are confident that by committing our time and money we will have built a foundation that will revitalise the treatment of hazardous waste in the UK and deliver ground-breaking practices to ensure quality in an industry that thrives on the reassurance and confidence it can build in its customer base.

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