How to avoid common pitfalls of Waste Classification

In recent months, the Environment Agency have been tightening the regulation of soil waste in the construction industry. New guidance on the classification of waste, and how to avoid common pitfalls has been released by Environmental Services Association, and can be accessed here.

The guidance highlights, in particular, the old chestnut of using WAC results to classify waste (you can’t), the importance of assigning the correct EWC code, and the impact of the presence of asbestos containing materials on the waste classification; the presence of any identifiable fragment of asbestos containing material in soil gives rise to a classification of the soil as Hazardous Waste. Overall, this underlines the importance of careful waste management on site, and the need to segregate wastes based on their classification, and description. Mixing different waste types can lead to very much higher disposal costs.

The Environment Agency have also released a statement regarding the use, and possible mis-use of the CL:AIRE Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice (DoW CoP). This is a very valuable tool that, applied correctly, enables the re-use of soils that would otherwise have to be disposed of. An essential requirement of the Code is that Environment Agency approval is obtained for the proposed scheme in advance of the work being carried out; this usually means before the start of groundworks. Therefore, it is essential that the use of this scheme is considered at a very early stage in the development process. It is usually beneficial if the re-use of material on site forms part of the planning application where, for example, it is to be used for raising levels or constructing a noise bund.

Southern Testing are experienced in the classification and management of waste and are able to provide Waste Classification Reporting to all clients.  We can also provide advice for Waste Management Plans and the adoption of the CL:AIRE Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice. Please contact us for further information or advice.

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