European Commission WFD Clarification

The European Commission has released Guidance to clarify a couple of issues within the revised Waste Framework Directive which have been interpreted inconsistently across the continent.

The document confirms that European Member States are allowed to deviate from the Waste Hierarchy when treating waste if Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) shows a Hierarchy-deviating management process to have a lower overall environmental impact than a Hierarchy-following process.

The document also states that commingled collections can be used by Member States as a form of separate collection for paper, metal, plastics and glass. This is on the assumption that the quality of material, following post-collection separation, is of similar quality to the material collected by fully separate collections.

The clarification’s release has come approximately one month before Defra and The Campaign for Real Recyclng (CRR) are due back in Court where The English Government’s interpretation of the WFD, which included commingled collections as separate, is to undergo a Judicial Review.

OFEG and IET Events

Fellows Environmental attended a number of events last week as part of the company’s on-going effort to keep up to date with industry developments and forge ties with other companies in the local area.

On Wednesday, the On-Farm Energy Generation Conference 2012 was held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire which gave an opportunity to meet with renewable energy technology providers and get a close feel for the interest in non-traditional farmland resource use, which the agricultural industry is always developing. The event included talks on government incentives, how to plan for on-farm energy generation, financing such a project and a whole range of other topics across the two days.

Thursday evening saw FE take a short trip to the Chancellors Hotel and Conference Centre in Fallowfield where the Institute of Engineering and Technology had organised a talk focussing on the installation of a CHP power plant at Media City in Salford. The presentation was given by a member of The Peel Group, developers of the site which has become the new home for BBC, ITV and Salford University, and covered topics ranging from the electrical engineering of the site, the benefits and uses of the site’s tri-gen energy centre and potential future developments which may be incorporated into the energy system.

Fellows Environmental also attended the Greater Manchester Business Fair at Salford City stadium and an event put on by Peninsula for Small Businesses at Trafford Park.

Recycling Week 2012

18-24th June 2012 sees a nationwide focus on waste management thanks to National Recycling Week. The main aim of the WRAP-affiliated week-long event is to focus local authorities, businesses and retailers on recycling plastic bottles. Currently, the UK uses approximately 15million plastic bottles every day but less than 50% get recycled. Waste services are offering the chance to recycle more and more types of bottle as separation and recycling technologies improve, but public knowledge of these advances is not yet as high as it might be.

A website has been launched by Recycle Now which gives recycling information for everyday household items (not just plastic bottles) and explains what all the recycling symbols mean. It also contains an easy 4-step method to start recycling projects at work and gives a list of all recycling events across the country related to Recycling Week. Get involved!

EU Agree to Phase-out Landfill

The European Parliament voted (24 May) in support of proposals from the recent “Report on a Resource-efficient Europe” to phase-out the use of landfill and significantly restrict the amount of recyclable and compostable waste being sent for energy recovery via incineration. No dates have been specified for member states to stop using landfill but it has been suggested that dates will be arranged country-by-country dependent on the ease of compliance.

At the EP Strasbourg Plenary session, agreements were put in place for proposals for the phase-out of landfill to be made by the end of 2014 and for the 2020 recycling targets to be revised. The UK will launch a consultation on banning certain materials from landfill in the near future.

Landfill Tax Changes

A brief was released on 18 May describing two substantial changes in the way that Landfill Tax is governed by HMRC. Tax must now be paid for any material deposited at the top of a landfill cell and an increased level of Tax must be also paid for fines from recycling processes, grit and screenings.

The layer of material at the top of a landfill cell (known as the “top fluffy layer”) is used to add stability for the overlying clay cap liners. Traditionally this layer has been categorised as engineering material and so hasn’t been susceptible to Landfill Tax. However, HMRC has stated that this material should be liable to taxation as it is disposed of primarily with the intention of being discarded rather than used for engineering purposes.

With respect to fines (the range of materials that have undergone some form of reuse, recycling or recovery process prior to disposal to landfill), HMRC has also reduced the number of materials that qualify for the £2.50/t Landfill Tax rate in the Landfill Order 2011. As the variable nature of inerts means that it is impossible to determine the exact nature of the material, it no longer qualifies for the reduced rate and will therefore be charged at the full rate of £64/t.

The raise in fines Landfill Tax follows the increased Landfill Tax rate for rocks and soils, which many would still class as inert material, the likely result of which is an increase in the cost of skip hire due to the shortfall in outlets for these materials. This is also likely to have a knock-on effect on recycling rates if such materials can no longer be classed as recycled.

North West Energy Forum

On the 23rd May, Fellows Environment attended an event held at Royal Liverpool Hospital organised by the North West Energy Forum focussing on “Energy Opportunities in the Public Sector”. The event centred on the context with which Local Authorities have to work, before using the hospital’s CHP engine to showcase the vast improvements to carbon emissions and cost that are possible for institutions to make with minimal initial outlay.

The group was then taken around the CHP plant and shown how the technology works step-by-step, how it has been upgraded since its initial installation in 1993, and how the system is to be changed over the next few years as the hospital plans to change location and reduce its energy demand.

NE & NW CIWM Open Meeting

Last Friday morning, Fellows Environmental attended the joint NW & NE CIWM Open Meeting, held at the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield. The event focussed on the management of food waste, covering a wide range of topics including the collection of waste from communal residencies, the recovery options available for food waste and creating clean fuel from used cooking oil (UCO). Most interestingly, Neil Gemmel led a discussion centred on the practical experiences he has gained from running an on-farm AD facility at Clayton Hall Farm.

Seeing as the event was held at the Textile Centre of Excellence, a representative of the University of Huddersfield finished the event by explaining current research being undertaken by the university to get a better understand of the end-of-life management of textile waste in Africa. The event was well attended and provided a good opportunity to catch up with fellow professionals in the waste industry.

NOMA Site Visit

Last week Fellows Environmental were offered a fantastic one-off opportunity to visit the Co-op’s new head office (currently under construction) and attend a presentation by the NOMA Strategy Development Director on the project master plan, planning issues and development strategy.

The new head office in Manchester city centre will open in 2012 and has already achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating for its design. The building is the first phase of NOMA – an £800m,  4 million sq ft, mixed-use regeneration project in the heart of Manchester. For further information please visit the NOMA project page here.

Draft Scottish Waste Regulations Passed

On Wednesday the 9th May 2012 the Scottish Parliament passed regulations that will require businesses to separate paper, card, plastic, glass, metals and food waste, if more than 5kg waste is generated weekly for collection.

Local authorities will be required to provide separate household kerbside collections for groups of materials (with food collections everywhere except rural areas), unless satisfied that their quantities and quality are acceptable using existing methods. More details are set to be released in June as part of the consultation document.

Zero Waste Scotland will invest £8m in local authorities and commercial waste management companies, including £5m to develop food waste collections and £750,000 to help develop SME collection services. As a result the Scottish government hopes to achieve 70% recycling by 2025.

The draft regulations also propose restrictions on feedstocks for EfW facilities to avoid the management of waste materials at inappropriate levels of the waste hierarchy, banning biodegradable waste completely from landfill by 2020 and removing ferrous metals and hard plastics from waste streams prior to thermal treatment or incineration.

The draft regulations are available view online here.