The Environment Agency (EA) has extended a Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) on the use of mixed waste wood by a further ten months, to allow completion of a major project.
The Waste Wood Classification (WWC) Project is being led by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) and aims to ensure that waste wood in the UK is being properly classified at the front end of the recycling chain, and processed for the appropriate end uses.
Julia Turner, Executive Director of the WRA, said: “We’re really pleased with this extension. It not only allows us more time to provide the greatest amount of evidence we can, but also allows us time to prepare thorough guidance for both the waste wood industry and the demolition sector.”
The WWC project began in the autumn of 2017 with the EA issuing the RPS at that point, stating that mixed waste wood must only be used for panel board feedstock or biomass destined for Chapter IV Compliant boilers, while the project work is carried out.
Large scale sampling of waste wood and laboratory work then began to take place. The RPS was further extended by 12 months last September to 30th September this year. As the sampling work is still on-going, the EA has now agreed a further extension to 31st July 2020. That means nothing will change prior to that point.
The project is now over half way through the sampling process of mixed waste wood from Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), waste transfer stations and waste wood processors.
“The sampling work has taken slightly longer than expected, partly because we have had to wait for enough fence posts and decking to be available,” said Julia. “This extension will also allow us to finish the sampling and give us plenty of time to embed any required changes to waste wood classification within our industry and with the regulators ahead of the RPS being withdrawn next July.”
“Overall the project has been a very positive experience and is progressing really well. We have had lots of help from our colleagues including other trade and industry groups and operators within the sector who are supplying the samples. We would like to thank everyone so far for the support and assistance they have given to this project and encourage those who still need to submit their samples to do so as soon as possible.”
Once the results of the sampling are known, the project team will develop two sets of guidance for operators, one by the WRA for the waste wood industry and one produced by the National Federation of Demolition Contractors for the demolition sector.
The guidance will include a ‘simple to follow’ visual guide on how to classify each waste wood item on whether it is clean and untreated, treated but non-hazardous or treated and hazardous. This will enable all those involved in the collection, transfer and treatment of waste wood to easily identify every kind of waste wood item that may enter the waste stream from household, industrial, agricultural and construction/demolition sources by using clear pictorial references.