October 2nd, 2015

On tape: regulation in the waste sector


by Peter Jones


Last month, the Cabinet Office concluded its call for comments to help it “identify unnecessary barriers to growth and productivity in the waste sector”. I responded, as did many others in the sector, and judging by some of the comments posted on its web page I wasn’t alone in finding the red tape review somewhat misconceived. I would argue that the waste and recycling sector, far from being strangled by regulation and enforcement, relies upon it for its survival, let alone its growth.

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September 25th, 2015

Getting in on the ACT: subsidies and the EfW market


by Chris Cullen


The market for residual waste treatment is about to experience some significant changes. As we move closer to the point where Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review forecasts suggest that the amount of treatment capacity will equal the amount of residual waste available, the key price benchmark for facilities will no longer be the cost of landfill. Instead, it will be the gate fee offered by operators of other residual waste treatment plant – many of them energy from waste (EfW) facilities. A key question for any developer, then, is what will allow a facility to be competitive over its lifespan of 25 years or more.

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September 18th, 2015

Phosphorus: a cosmic lesson for a finite planet


by Thomas Vergunst


The tiny island state of Nauru, stranded halfway between Hawaii and Australia and spanning a mere 21km2, owes its existence to phosphorus. From an uninhabitable coral outcrop, Nauru formed as migrating birds with a propensity for depositing vast amounts of phosphorus rich guano used it as a resting place on their journey across this barren stretch of the Pacific. Over many millennia these birds helped to build up an island, which was miraculously chanced upon some 3,000 years ago by, one must assume, rather grateful seafaring Polynesians.

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September 11th, 2015

Lost in transit: reducing packaging waste in the food supply chain

Plastic boxes

by Joanne Moss


When you think of food packaging, what springs to mind? Cardboard boxes, polystyrene and plastic trays, polythene wrap still predominate, both in consumer packaging and in the material the public rarely sees – the transit packaging that makes sure products arrive at the retailer intact. Much of this material can be recycled, but the waste hierarchy gives prevention top priority – so what scope is there to avoid generating transit packaging waste in the first place?

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September 4th, 2015

Hazard perception: what makes waste hazardous?


by Ian Cessford


The Environment Agency has recently implemented the latest EU List of Wastes hazardous waste classifications through its Technical Guidance document WM3. This sets new criteria for defining hazardous waste and continues the seemingly inexorable rise in the types of materials accepted as a risk to human health or the environment.

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August 28th, 2015

Waste hierarchy compliance: a tick box exercise?


by Sam Taylor and Peter Jones


The waste hierarchy is one of the fundamental elements of the European waste management policy. Enshrined in the Waste Framework Directive, and transposed into UK law in the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (‘the 2011 Regulations’), applying the waste hierarchy is a legal duty on all producers of waste. But with little threat of enforcement of this obligation, many businesses in the UK seem unmotivated to act and compliance appears to be literally no more than a tick box exercise.

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August 21st, 2015

Who will care for the UK’s elderly landfills?


by Mike Brown and Bethany Ledingham


The speed of change in the residual waste sector is both unprecedented and unrelenting. There are many positives to emphasise – some efforts towards waste prevention, more reuse and recycling, and new and environmentally preferable treatment technologies are all having an impact.

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