Legislation and Industrial and Commercial Waste
There are some major pieces of legislation associated with industrial and commercial waste to make sure that our big businesses operate in a more sustainable way. Individual industries such as mining will have their own directives dictating how they handle their particular kinds of waste. The main legislation relating to all kinds of waste are:
- Environmental Protection Act 1990
- Controlled Waste Regulations 2012
- Hazardous Waste Directive 2011
- Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations
The primary piece of legislation remains the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for both commercial and industrial businesses though management is also informed by directives from the European Union.
The Waste Hierarchy
Much of the legislation that governs the handling of waste is also covered by the EU Waste Framework Directive which is aimed at getting all the member states in the EU to work from the same plan and have the same standards. All this is about making sure that as little waste as possible goes to landfill and that the rest is disposed of safely and recycled or reused where circumstances allow.
Whether a business is a manufacturer, hospitality provider or delivers a set of products for sale, the waste hierarchy applies across the board. Manufacturers, for instance, are under increasing pressure to make products that are easier to recycle and have less hazardous components which are more difficult to get rid of.
Find out about the waste hierarchy in the management of industrial and commercial waste.
Duty of Care
Under the Environmental Protection Act all businesses have a duty of care to make sure that they handle and dispose of their waste in a sustainable and safe way. That not only means large industrial complexes but smaller businesses who are all bound by law to provide a clear audit trail for all their waste.
Hazardous vs Non Hazardous Waste
When industrial and commercial ventures are putting together policies to handle waste, they will generally make a differentiation between hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Most waste that doesn’t have a harmful component can be managed by either reusing or recycling. Harmful waste requires the processes in place according to legislation to make sure that it is disposed of safely so that it no longer causes harm to the environment or mankind. This can include having better manufacturing processes that, for example, get rid of harmful gasses, to the better treatment of huge problems such as contaminated waste water.
There are a range of manufacturing industries in the UK and their waste management policies vary. There are companies that make chemicals and who need to find ways to reduce the amount of waste they produce including the sourcing of raw materials and how they treat hazardous effluents. The same applies to companies that manufacture electrical products who also need to pay a certain amount towards the recycling of their own devices and machines when they reach the end of their shelf life.
The Mining Waste Directive
The Mining Waste Directive was introduced to help reduce the risk to the environment and humans from industrial activities such as quarrying and mining. There are nearly 2000 active mines and quarries in the UK producing a wide range of materials. These include construction aggregates and stone for building as well as coal and various minerals.
Companies need to produce a waste management plan to show how they aim to reduce, recover, treat and dispose of mining and quarry waste. This includes categorizing the waste and demonstrating how it has the potential to affect the environment as well as how extracted waste is going to be managed and controlled. This is an ongoing process that needs to be regularly updated as knowledge and technology develops.
One key area where the industrial and commercial sectors are subjected to more legislation is with hazardous waste management. This is anything that can be considered harmful or dangerous to the environment and to mankind and is normally categorised in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC). The onus is on a business to make sure that they identify any kind of hazardous waste and put in the processes to deal with it appropriately. This doesn’t just apply to large industrial corporations producing contaminated waste water or harmful gases, but manufacturers of electrical products such as fluorescent lights and even computers and mobile phones.
Find out more about industrial and commercial waste disposal services.