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Special Waste Regulations 1996

 

THE CONTROLS ON SPECIAL WASTE AND HOW THEY AFFECT YOU

 

Do you use chemicals, products with hazard symbols or safety data sheets?

Then read on...

This document is about the changes to the controls on Special Waste, those wastes which cause the greatest environmental damage or are dangerous to human life.

The new controls will:

* Change the definition of special waste;

* Change the form (consignment note) you must use before you can get rid of special waste;

* Change who receives the forms (pre notification)

* Bring in fees for pre-notification

* Restrict mixing of wastes.

Special waste used to be covered by the 1980 Special Waste Regulations. But the controls set out in this leaflet are new. They are known as the 1996 Special Waste Regulations (the Regulations). They completely replace the 1980 regulations.

You need to know about the Regulations if you have to dispose of, carry or receive special wastes. This includes special wastes going into storage, treatment, recycling or disposal.

 

WHAT IS WASTE?

 

Waste can be anything you own, or your business produces, and which you want to get rid of. The publications shown in appendix A will help you decide whether something is waste.

A rule of thumb is that is an item is being treated as waste by the producer then it is waste.

 

WHAT ARE SPECIAL WASTES?

 

These are the most dangerous wastes. They include hazardous or toxic wastes. Most of them are listed in the new regulations. Wastes are not special if the hazardous properties set out in the regulations are absent for any reason. Some common special wastes are listed below:

 

LIST OF TYPICAL SPECIAL WASTES

 

* Acids

* Alkaline solutions

* Batteries

* Oil fly ash

* Industrial solvents

* Pesticides

* Pharmaceutical compounds

* Photographic chemicals

* Waste oils

* Wood preservatives.

Almost everything that was special waste under the e1980 regulations is still special waste under the 1996 regulations. However some wastes became special wastes for the first time.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY WASTE IS SPECIAL?

 

You MUST tell the regulators before your special waste is removed. This is called pre-notification. You do this by filling in a form called a consignment note. You must send off the form at least 3 clear working days before you want the waste removed. The regulations do not say how the waste should be packaged and handled but you should follow the Duty of Care.

 

WHAT IS DUTY OF CARE?

 

There is a duty of care which applies to the producers of ALL waste, special or otherwise, to ensure that that waste is handled in a correct manner. For special waste the consignment note replaces the duty of care transfer note. The duty of care means that you must give a good enough description to enable your waste to be safely managed. Most special wastes need very clear description. Waste must always be transferred to an authorised person e.g. registered waste carrier or a licensed waste manager. Remember that transport, health and safety and other safety legislation may also apply.

(Waste Management, The Duty of Care A Code of Practice, available from HMSO price 7.50)

 

WHO ARE THE REGULATORS?

 

The regulators are the Environment Agency (England and Wales), and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

 

WHY PRE-NOTIFY?

 

The regulators have to see that the waste is properly described and going to a suitable site. The paperwork also helps to track the waste to prevent illegal dumping. All of this helps to ensure special waste is handled properly - protecting the environment and preventing harm to human health.

 

HOW DO CONSIGNMENT NOTES WORK?

 

If I want to get rid of waste?

You are the consignor.

Before any special waste leaves your site, you (or the person moving the waste - the carrier) must fill in parts A and B of a five-copy consignment note.

You (or the carrier) must send one copy to the regulator for the area where the waste is going. His must be done at least three working days, but not more than one month, before the waste is to be moved. You will be left with four copies. When the waste is about to be moved, the carrier must agree with you the information at parts A and B. the carrier will complete part C to the form. You MUST then sign part D. You MUST keep a copy.

 

WHY ARE FEES CHARGED?

 

Fees have been introduced to help the Environment Agencies meet the costs of supervising special waste movements. The Environment Agency charges for the consignment notes to be used to consign special waste.

 

CAN I MIX SPECIAL WASTES?

 

If you produce special wastes the regulations do not stop you mixing them. However it is usually safer to keep them separate. An establishment or undertaking which disposes, recovers, collects or transports special waste must not mix different types of special waste under the regulations. Nor can it mix special and non-special wastes.

 

WHAT RECORDS MUST I KEEP?

 

Producers of special waste need to keep a record of the waste produced prior to detailing it on the consignment note.

Consignors and carriers MUST keep a register of the consignment note copies for three years, but consignees will need to keep copies of the consignment notes until they surrender the licence for the site they manage.

ARE THERE FINES FOR BREAKING THE RULES?

Yes - if the court convicts you of not complying with the regulations you could suffer a fine of up to 5,000, ordered to pay costs and / or spend 2 years in prison.