New Hazardous Waste Guidance Released

Monday, June 1, 2015

From the 1st June 2015 all hazardous waste producers will need to comply with revised guidance on the assessment and classification of hazardous waste.  The new guidance, set out in WM3, will replace the existing WM2 document “Hazardous waste: Interpretation of the definition and classification of hazardous waste (3rd Edition 2013)”.

WM3 is a comprehensive technical guidance document on the assessment and classification of hazardous waste, or special waste as it is known in Scotland.  It has been developed jointly by the four environmental regulators in the UK; the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

The document aims to provide clear guidance on how to legally and safely classify and manage hazardous waste.  It will be useful for anyone who produces, transports, receives, deals or brokers hazardous waste in the UK.  It is considered especially useful for anyone who manages certain, more unusual, wastes types which may need to be investigated to determine whether they must be classified as ‘hazardous’ or not.

The new WM3 guidance introduces a range of new changes, with many associated with the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations (CLP) (2008/1272/EC) which introduces a new system of chemical classification based on hazard classes, categories and statement codes. 

As part of the guidance, all waste packaging must be assigned correctly.  This includes a requirement for any packaging that has contained a hazardous product and has not been decontaminated by an approved method to be automatically considered hazardous in nature.  This is regardless of its weight or concentration of the hazardous substance originally contained in the packaging.

In addition, wider Duty of Care and legal obligations continue to apply for the management of hazardous waste.  This includes requirements for the premises from where hazardous waste is removed to be registered as a Hazardous Waste Producer, for Consignment Notes to accompany all transfers of hazardous waste and for sites receiving the waste to have suitable authorisation to receive that waste.

The guidance is available for free and can be downloaded from the Environment Agency website here.

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