Did you know that in the UK in 2004, 335 million waste tonnes was produced? This includes 200 million waste tonnes of ‘controlled’ wastes coming from residences, but also from industry and commerce. As the EU suggests, about two billion waste tonnes are produced by EU members every year – and this number certainly increases annually.
As a business, it’s important for you to know exactly what your waste is and how it is classified. This is the first step to proper disposal. So what should you know about waste?
The basics on waste
Waste is a broad term which encompasses most materials which are unwanted, as stated by the 1990 EPA or Environmental Protection Act. In other words, waste comprises scrap materials, unwanted extra or surplus substances, effluent, or materials which need to be disposed of because they are worn out, broken, spoiled, or contaminated.
The four categories of prospective waste
According to the DE (Department of Environment), there are four main categories of prospective waste. These are as follows:
- Substances which are considered worn but can still function, or materials which can still be used (after they have been repaired) for the same purpose for which they were produced.
- Objects or substances which can be immediately used for another purpose, such as ash produced by power stations which can serve as a raw material for construction blocks.
- Objects or substances which are degenerated but can still be used by establishments which specialize in waste recovery, such as scrap or solvents. Solvents and scrap materials are considered waste but are no longer classified as such if they are recovered.
- Materials or substances which are no longer wanted by the holder and which they would have to pay to have someone take it away. This is where the services of a qualified residential or commercial waste disposal company come in.
More on waste management and control in the UK
It is the EA (Environment Agency) which is responsible for controlling certain waste types, such as controlled waste. Controlled waste includes industrial, commercial, and household waste. Other types of waste, such as those from quarries, mines, and the agricultural sector, are non-controlled waste and are not regulated like controlled waste.
There are also wastes that are considered hazardous, but again, this is a broad definition. Hazardous waste can be distinguished by their risk levels. For example, a toxic substance which can result in cancer after a certain period (such as asbestos) is highly hazardous, whilst fluorescent or cathode ray tubes can also be hazardous in the long term. Clinical waste can be considered hazardous upon immediate contact.
If you want to dispose of your waste properly, you should find a qualified and experienced partner which can provide you with the proper waste collection and recycling service. By doing this, you are one step closer to doing your duty.
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