Confusion over the removal of RPS 250 means that some waste processors are charging more than necessary to take waste wood from home refurbishments and in some cases have stopped taking it altogether, according to the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).
The Association is highlighting how the regulatory change only impacts a very small amount of material which through testing can be reduced even further and should not cause major disruption to operations.
According to the WRA, householders who are responsible for their own renovation waste wood are not impacted by the regulatory change and can continue to take material to their local household waste recycling centres as normal.
However, if they use a third party contractor to handle renovation wood waste then these contractors must update their procedures and protocols following the removal of the Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) on 1 September 2023.
This means the contractors can no longer move and process a small number (ten*) of ‘amber’ waste wood items as non-hazardous which the RPS previously permitted and instead have to identify and consign them as hazardous, unless they obtain testing to certify it is not hazardous.
The Association has been pushing to reduce this list even further and is urging businesses to send samples off for testing and feed those results back to the WRA. This will allow the WRA to put the case to the Environment Agency that some, or all of these items are still non-hazardous and therefore can be removed from the list.
The WRA has emphasised that the change only relates to a very small quantity of wood with invisible treatments from buildings built between 1950 and 2007 and does not include painted wood or that with obvious hazardous treatments like creosote.
“We are talking about a very small quantity of material from a very specific time frame, which is quite hard to find”, explains Vicki Hughes, Technical Lead on the WRA Board.
“We understand that some processors are getting confused about how much is involved and are charging excessive additional costs for disposal or testing.
“We are concerned that this could lead to good wood being sent needlessly for hazardous waste disposal and artificially inflate the UK’s hazardous waste wood figures.”
The WRA has been feeding its concerns back to the Environment Agency and has been having constructive discussions to ensure compliance, whilst maintaining a practical and measured response to the changes.
Vicki added: “If you have any questions about the changes and what they mean for you, please contact us directly to ensure minimal disruption and unnecessary costs during this time.
“We’ve been helping members, trade associations, in fact anyone that has contacted us because for us the preservation of the waste wood stream is vital to the overall waste hierarchy and to maintaining the recycling and recovery rates across the UK.”