There are a number of important pieces of waste legislation in force, and while there is a good deal of overlap, each has a primary focus.
The Waste Framework Directive (2008)
The Waste Framework Directive is the primary European legislation for the management of waste. This document defines key concepts such as waste, recovery and disposal and puts in place the essential requirements for the management of waste, notably the requirement for waste management operations to obtain a permit for these works, or to be registered. The legislation has recently been revised.
The aim of the revised WFD is to promote waste prevention, increase recycling and ensure better use of resources, whilst protecting human health and the environment. The concept of a ‘waste hierarchy’ is defined in this document.
The Waste Hierarchy requires that waste is dealt with in the following order of priority:
- Preparation for re-use
- Other recovery (for example, energy recovery)
Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012
Waste Regulations 2012 incorporate into UK legislation the Waste Framework Directive, including waste hierarchy. The need for waste permits (Environmental Permitting Regulations (2010, amended 2012)) and authorisations for certain activities (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, IPPC) therefore does not change, however as part of the amendments some categories of waste have been excluded from control.
The legislation requires businesses to confirm that they have applied the waste management hierarchy when transferring waste, including a declaration on their waste transfer note or consignment note to this effect.