A toolkit to help wood recyclers prepare for the withdrawal of RPS 250 (Hazardous waste wood from demolition and refurbishment activities) in September has been launched today (June 19) by the Wood Recyclers’ Association.

The toolkit contains a package of resources to ensure full compliance with the upcoming regulatory change with minimal disruption to operations.

The withdrawal of Regulatory Position Statement 250 by the Environment Agency on September 1 in England means that certain kinds* of potentially hazardous waste wood from pre-2007 buildings, which can currently be sent for recycling or recovery under the RPS, will no longer be accepted at wood recycling sites.

These will only be accepted if tested to show they are not hazardous by being sent off for a simple test.

The toolkit includes:

  • A step-by-step checklist of what wood recyclers need to do
  • A printable poster/visual guide to help operatives identify what materials can no longer be processed unless tested and proved non-hazardous.
  • A sample acceptable materials guide, to help companies update their own acceptance criteria
  • An updated WRA wood grading system, to show which materials are now deemed hazardous.
  • A training video explaining the changes and the steps wood recycling businesses need to take (COMING SOON)

Wood recyclers are being advised to communicate the upcoming change to customers, to train their staff to recognise this material, to make sure their quarantine processes for hazardous material are up to date and to ensure that none is accepted onto their sites.

Vicki Hughes, Technical Lead on the WRA Board, said: “We are delighted to be launching this toolkit to help our members prepare for the withdrawal of RPS 250 in September.

“The Environment Agency has said it will be checking the protocols of sites accepting waste wood, so it is important that operators understand what changes they need to make.

“There are only three months to go so we urge wood recyclers and their suppliers to start looking at what they need to do now.”

The announcement comes after five years of work by the WRA under its Waste Wood Classification Project, during which it successfully reduced the number of items subject to this change from hundreds, with all the costs associated with them, to just ten*, all from pre-2007 buildings.

The WRA is now calling for all those handling demolition waste wood to carry out as many tests as possible on the remaining items before September to help reduce this list further.

Vicki said: “Testing is vital if we are to remove more of these items from the list and ensure as much material is recycled or recovered as possible. However, it is important that those who do send samples off for testing carefully follow WRA guidance and grant permission, on an anonymous basis, for us to access and analyse the results.”

She added: “RPS250 only applies in England, but the other three UK environmental regulators have similar positions in place in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“SEPA in Scotland have confirmed that their guidance will also change to follow the same principles and although NRW in Wales and NIEA in Northern Ireland haven’t confirmed what changes will take place there, wood processors will need to follow the same guidelines across the UK as waste wood moves across borders so acceptance criteria will need to be updated UK-wide.”

Richard Coulson, chair of the WRA, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vicki and Julia for producing this toolkit and to all those who have worked so hard on delivering our Waste Wood Classification Project over the past five years on behalf of our industry. Their time, dedication and commitment has been invaluable and has been instrumental in minimising the impact of these changes.”

Notes to Editors
The toolkit can be found on the WRA website here.

*The ten potentially hazardous items from pre-2007 buildings are: barge boards; external fascia; soffit boards; external joinery; external doors; roof timber; tiling cladding; tiling battens; timber frames and timber joists.

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