The UK’s Environment Agency is reminding businesses who create hazardous waste in the printing sector of imminent changes to the management of hazardous waste, highlighting their legal obligation to handle it safely and responsibly, and to only give it to properly licensed waste carriers or waste facilities.
The UK has a history of using landfills to dispose of both hazardous and non hazardous wastes cheaply and easily. Such wastes have commonly been disposed of together in the same landfill. This practice of co-disposal will be banned from July 16, 2004 – and all hazardous waste will require treatment before it is landfilled. The impact of the new rules will affect not only the operators of landfill sites but also producers of hazardous wastes.
Currently, there are over 200 landfills authorized to accept hazardous waste in England and Wales. From July 16, it is expected that the number of merchant landfills available will be squeezed to approximately 10. The loss of landfill capacity and the requirement for hazardous waste to be treated after July, 2004, is expected to have a significant impact on the ability of business to dispose of their wastes.
To prepare as much as possible for the changes, the Environment Agency is urging businesses to follow a five-point plan: Check whether your waste is hazardous; Know where your hazardous waste is going; Explore options to reduce the amount of hazardous waste you produce; Budget for rising costs for the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste; Keep up to date – recent changes have resulted in more waste becoming hazardous.
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