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New guide seeks to explain common waste classification errors

Common misconceptions in the classification of waste are the target of a new guide created by a team of experts from the waste industry.  

The guide, ‘Misclassification of waste – and how you can avoid it’, is aimed at waste producers, carriers, brokers, consultants and managers, and presents the most common mistakes made in waste classification, explaining why they are wrong and what can be done to clarify the difference between waste types.

It is the brainchild of the Waste Industry Group on Waste Clarification, a group containing waste experts nominated by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), as well as representatives from the Environment Agency, which has welcomed its publication.

The note covers categories like waste acceptance criteria (WAC), List of Waste/EWC codes and hazard property codes, as well as waste types like metals, hydrocarbons and inert wastes.

Dr Gene Wilson, Chair of the Waste Industry Group on Waste Clarification, said: “Misclassification of waste is one of the most serious issues facing our sector. Where it is done deliberately, to avoid proper waste treatment, the regulator needs to step in and take firm enforcement action. But often misclassification can be accidental, and here the industry itself has a responsibility to ensure that all involved are competent for the task and classify waste as accurately as possible. 

“That is why ESA, working with its partners in the waste industry classification group, has produced this guide on how to avoid the most common classification errors.”

The new guide will be hosted on the websites of the ESA, CIWM, and the Right Waste Right Place campaign.