‘Pre Treatment' Regulations / The Landfill Directive
Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010
This provision within the Landfill Directive places a legal obligation on commercial ‘waste producers’ to divert as much of their waste as possible away from landfill.
If you work within a commercial organisation and you haven’t yet done so, you need to review your existing provisions for waste disposal and take steps to ‘pre treat’ at least a part of your total, non-hazardous waste. For most organisations the simplest option will be to consult your existing waste management contractor and seek their recommendations. NB – it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that your contractor has disposed of your waste in a compliant manner and, if necessary, to produce supporting documentation to the Environment Agency. An acceptable document would be a suitably-completed Waste Transfer Note.
A previous version of these regulations was already in place as a provision of the Landfill (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, commonly referred to as the Landfill Directive.
These regulations were replaced by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, which now transpose the requirements of the Landfill Directive (European Council Directive 1999/31/EC).
The majority of non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste produced in the UK is still sent to landfill, with associated implications for the environment in the form of greenhouse gas emissions and a shortage of available/suitable land for future landfill sites. The government wishes waste producers to adopt a more sustainable approach to waste management and to move up the ‘waste hierarchy’. In order of preference, options within the hierarchy consist of waste reduction; reuse; recycling; energy recovery; disposal.
A waste producer is defined as any company or organisation that generates waste as a result of its normal operations, and the ‘pre treatment’ regulation applies to non-hazardous waste only. (Separate rules apply for hazardous waste, which continues to be dealt with under the Hazardous waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 and the List of Waste (England) Regulations).
The suitability of treatment options must comply with a ‘three point test’. The treatment must: a) result in a physical, thermal, chemical or biological process, including sorting, b) it must change the characteristics of the waste, and c) it must reduce its volume, or reduce its hazardous nature, or facilitate its handling, or enhance its recovery.
For example, organisations can choose to collect one or more of their waste streams separately, e.g. paper, cardboard, glass, and send them for recycling.
In some cases a waste management contractor may be able to take all of your waste to a Transfer Station and sort out one or more materials streams for recycling.
Where recycling is not possible, some form of heat treatment and energy recovery would be suitable, for example sending your waste to an Energy from Waste plant.
A more detailed explanation can be found at: