Operatives working at skip yards, demolition sites and waste transfer stations are being targeted in a campaign to make it easy for them to classify waste wood as part of their legal duties.
The campaign includes a simple Quick Guide to help operatives collect samples and send potentially hazardous waste wood items off for testing, launched today (July 8) by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).
The WRA is also holding a series of Training Workshops on testing, including a free one-hour online event on August 3 (now postponed until August 23) and a further face-to-face session on September 14 during RWM and Letsrecycle.com Live.
Both the Quick Guide and Workshops are aimed at operatives and supervisors working at sites handling demolition waste wood, as opposed to senior managers.
The downloadable Quick Guide uses pictures to illustrate what wood is potentially hazardous and provides step-by-step instructions on how to take a sample of this material and send it for testing. A form for operators to fill out to submit with any samples is also provided.
Potentially hazardous items include fence posts, decking and certain types of waste wood from pre-2007 buildings including roof timbers, external joinery and tiling battens. It does not apply to material such as railway sleepers and telegraph poles, which are already known to be hazardous and to require specialist hazardous waste treatment.
The Workshops reinforce these messages and will explain the regulatory drivers for why the classification and testing needs to be done and what the impact of failing to do this will be.
Participants will then be guided through the process of identifying potentially hazardous material and collecting a sample for analysis, before being given the opportunity to ask questions during a 15-minute Q&A.
The sessions will be led by Vicki Hughes, who is Technical Lead on the WRA Board.
Operators have a regulatory duty to correctly classify hazardous waste wood under RPS250 in England and more testing is required on the types of wood listed to understand the true extent of hazardous material in the UK. Slightly different rules are in place in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Without testing, all these items could be defined as hazardous and need specific hazardous disposal, costing at least an estimated £200 per tonne above standard wood disposal rates.
Both the Guide and Workshops are being delivered in association with the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and United Resource Operators Consortium (UROC) trade associations.
Julia Turner, executive director of the WRA, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Quick Guide and Workshops as they will give clarity to those handling waste wood from demolition and refurbishment activities.
“The simple format will help operatives to understand the importance of their participation in testing and what it is they need to do.”
The Quick Guide and Workshops are intended to simplify the messages around testing set out in the more detailed 2021 guidance document, ‘Waste Wood Assessment Guidance for the Construction and Demolition Sectors’, which operators still need to follow in full.
This 2021 guidance was produced alongside separate guidance for the wood recycling sector as part of the ongoing Waste Wood Classification Project, an initiative led by the WRA which aims to ensure the right wood ends up in the correct end market.