UNITED KINGDOM May 17 2015 11:00 AM
By Annie Kane
The Environment Agency (EA) has published new technical guidance on classifying and assessing waste, ahead of changes to the List of Waste and Hazardous Waste criteria, which will apply from 1 June.
The first edition of ‘Technical Guidance WM3: Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste’, has been released today (14 May) to help waste operators prepare for the changes coming into effect next month. It has been developed following feedback from an industry-wide consultation on the matter.
Despite the release of the new guidance, the EA has reminded waste handlers that the previous version of the guidance, WM2, should be used until the changes apply.
Reason for updated guidance
Currently, waste assessment and classification in the UK is based upon: the Waste Framework Directive (WFD); the List of Wastes Decision (otherwise known as European Waste Catalogues); and the Dangerous Substances Directive and Dangerous Preparations Directive (implemented in the UK by the Chemical (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (CHIP).
However, in June the chemical legislation will be replaced by the direct-acting European Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP), which introduces a new system of chemical classification based on hazard classes, categories and statement codes (rather than risk phrases and categories of danger).
This therefore requires the Waste Directive and the List of Waste (or European Waste Catalogues) to be amended, and, to reflect this, the updated WM guidance, WM3, has been developed.
WM3 guidance details
As such, WM3 has been designed help ‘anyone involved in producing, managing and regulating waste’ understand the new procedures for classifying and assessing waste, with particular regards to hazardous waste – as this needs to be stored safely and separately from other wastes, and undergo specific disposal measures.
The guide should be therefore used to:
1. check if the waste needs to be classified;
2. identify the code or codes that may apply to the waste;
3. identify the assessment needed to select the correct code;
4. determine the chemical composition of the waste;
5. identify if the substances in the waste are ‘hazardous substances’ or ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants’;
6. assess the hazardous properties of the waste; and
7.assign the classification code and describe the classification code.
It includes a number of changes from its previous manifestation, including:
– clarifying that the framework applies to the assessment and classification of waste;
– clarifying how the guidance applies to mining waste;
– updating all the hazardous waste properties relating to chemicals so that they are based on the CLP hazard classes, categories and statement codes;
– adding a new chapter for persistent organic pollutants; including a persistent organic pollutants step in the assessment;
– updating references, tables and examples to hazard classes, categories and statement codes;
– adding specific codes for red mud from alumina production, metallic mercury, and partly stabilised mercury;
– amending code 06 08 02 to replace silicones with chlorosilanes; and
– updating appendix data sources to reflect CLP.
However, it is the hazardous property assessment guidance (Appendix C) that has seen the most significant changes, which invalidate any existing assessment of hazardous properties made under the current criteria.
There are three main changes to Appendix C:
--all the hazardous properties related to chemicals are now based on the CLP hazard classes, categories and statement codes;
-- 13 of the 15 hazardous properties are now based on the new, more detailed criteria added to Annex III of the Waste Framework Directive (for example, explosive properties now include some organic peroxides); and there is a new chapter (C16) for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which include chlordane and chlordecon, mirex, dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls.
Although similar to previous criteria, the changes to Appendix C can produce a different classification where:
– waste criteria have been changed or introduced;
– the classification of a chemical has changed where the criteria for a hazard statement code does not align with a risk phrase it replaces; and
– hazard classes fall under different hazardous properties than the categories of danger they replace.