Waste costs money, typically up to 4% of business turnover, and by finding ways to reduce waste, your company could become more profitable. As with energy, waste costs have spiralled recently with disposal cost and landfill taxes increasing significantly. Landfill taxes are set to increase by £8 per tonne each April up to and including April 2013, when landfill tax will have reached £72 per tonne.
Waste management involves the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal, and monitoring of waste materials. It is also generally taken to include waste minimisation activities and legislation compliance.
The waste hierarchy helps to identify different options by ranking them in order of environmental impact:
The waste hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimisation strategies, the aim being to extract the maximum practical benefits from materials and to generate the minimum amount of waste. As a result of the new EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) being brought into law in England and Wales, it will soon be a requirement for all companies to take into account the waste hierarchy before consigning any waste for disposal.
Legislation applicable to the handling and disposal of waste is becoming increasingly complex. Producer responsibility obligations are now being introduced that make the producer of a product responsible for the end-of-life environmental impact and these obligations currently apply to packaging, waste electrical equipment, batteries and end-of-life vehicles.
The most important regulations are:
- Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011
- Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
- List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005
- Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005
- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006
- Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009