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Environment Agency cuts waste red tape

The Environment Agency (EA) has announced that it will no longer enforce certain waste transfer documentation in England when contractors drop trade waste off at wholesalers. The change coincides with wider, ongoing discussions between industry bodies such as Recolight and ECA with the EA and Defra, regarding the future of recording waste transfers.

According to ECA’s Director of CSR Paul Reeve, “In practice, this change should make it easier for contractors to ensure that various commercial waste (such as electrical and lighting waste) is properly collected and recycled, at no cost to the contractor”.

The change was announced this autumn in Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 283. The RPS states that customers dropping off business waste (such as WEEE) at wholesaler sites will not be challenged by the EA if they do not supply a Waste Transfer Note, or - even in the case of hazardous waste like various waste electricals and lamps - a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note.

Significantly, the RPS does not change the law but instead means that enforcement action will not be taken. There are also conditions attached to the RPS*. For example, the activity of transporting and dropping off the waste must be otherwise legally compliant, and notably not pollute the environment or harm human health. Further, contractors should only drop off waste that has arisen as a result of their own commercial activities.  

Wholesaler collection points must similarly comply with all other relevant waste-related legislation and wholesalers must not charge their customers for dropping off the waste. The waste collection point must be operated in line with non-waste framework Directive (NWFD) exemption 4.

*Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 283 can be viewed here.

The RPS will be in force for three years after which it will be reviewed.

Last updated 15 November 23