Money on Your Mind? How to Stay Out of Trouble When Managing Waste

Waste disposal is an expensive business, and many landowners knowbusiness-17965_640 that money can be made from a gate fee for the acceptance of waste from those looking to dispose of it cheaply. In the same way, site operators may be looking to save money by recovering waste to use in a project, instead of using more expensive non-waste. It’s a tempting prospect, but how can you carry out these activities whilst staying on the right side of the law?

This area is complex, as there are some cases where it is acceptable to use waste for ‘benefit’. To clear this up (excuse the pun) we have some handy indicators which should help to determine what you’re doing and how you can avoid a hefty fine.

There are two things that you might be doing: Either Recovery or Disposal.

Recovery – Waste recovery is when waste is used to replace other non-waste materials to achieve a beneficial outcome in an environmentally sound manner. The clearest indicator is when it can be shown that the waste used is a suitable replacement for non-waste materials that would otherwise have to be used to achieve the end benefit.

Disposal – When waste materials are eliminated in an environmentally sound manner. If this is the reason for a proposed operation, it cannot be a recovery operation, even if there is some secondary benefit.

If you’re unsure, please call us on 01743 343 403 to discuss your operations

If you’re not sure if your activity is recovery or disposal then iStock_sandy hill thumbyou’ve come to the right place! Answer the yes/no questions below to help discern how your activity is classified. 

  1. Is there a clear ‘benefit’ to the activity? In this instance, a ‘benefit’ is something that uses the waste as part of an operation. An example of this would be using waste soil to fill a void in order for foundations to be built.
  1. Is the recovered material suitable for its intended use? The waste types able to be used often depend on the environmental setting where the intended activity would take place. I.e. a very environmentally sensitive area would only be able to take completely inert material.
  1. Is the minimum amount of waste being used to achieve this benefit? You can’t just say that you’ll be using more than you need so it’s easier for you to dispose of all of the waste instead of just the required fraction.
  1. Are you recovering the waste and putting it to better use? Is the waste being used a substitute for a non-waste material? Showing that the proposal would have a strong likelihood of being undertaken using non-waste materials would be a strong indicator that the activity is a recovery operation.
  1. Will the proposal be completed to an appropriate standard? It is important for the recovery operation has been well thought through and has been deigned to give an effective and lasting benefit. If not, the benefit of the deposition isn’t realised.

If the answer to all of the above is ‘YES’ then you are likely to be carrying out a waste recovery activity.  If the answer is ‘NO’ to any of the above, or are unsure, then you may be carrying out a disposal activity and could be breaking the law. Either way, you are likely to need an environmental permit.

For further advice, or assistance on obtaining the right permit for your activity please contact us.

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