Back to Basics: Waste management

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The latest piece of red tape is set to trip up pubs at the end of this month when new rules come into force for the treatment of commercial waste....

The latest piece of red tape is set to trip up pubs at the end of this month when new rules come into force for the treatment of commercial waste. Part of the Environment Agency's bid to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill, the regulations cover the non-hazardous waste produced by businesses, including pubs.

In short they mean that from October 30 you've got to sort your rubbish or recycle it. Waste solutions company Mil-Tek explains:What's changing?

The new rules mean that all commercial waste material destined for landfill must be 'pre-treated' before it can be accepted.

Why?

The Landfill Directive is helping to bring about changes in the way we dispose of waste by making sure we regard landfill as the destination of last resort for our rubbish.

This means the cost of processing commercial waste will rise sharply in the coming years and waste contractors will pass these costs on to their customers. By 2010 landfill tax will have risen to £48 per tonne from its current £24 per tonne.

Businesses need to take action now to avoid large increases in costs and to control the impact on the business.

What does 'pre-treated' mean?

Your waste is considered to be 'pre-treated' if it has undergone a physical, thermal or biological process, including sorting, that changes the characteristics of the waste in order to reduce its mass, or reduce its hazardous nature, or facilitate its handling, or enhance its recovery.

For general waste it means you must separate different elements for recycling. For small businesses this can be done manually. For large businesses it will mean dedicating a special resource to do this.

If you take supplies that arrive in boxes or wrapped in plastic you should consider compacting your waste as well as separating it. Waste compactors, or balers, are easy to install, simple to operate and reduce your costs, especially if you are currently skipping waste.

What kind of waste is included?

The types of waste a pub generates are typically:

• glass

• paper

• cardboard

• plastic, including polystyrene

These should be separated and sent as appropriate for recycling. Only material that can't be separated or recycled should be set aside for rubbish collection.

So what do I need to do?

From October 30 every business in England and Wales will have to demonstrate they are treating waste in accordance with the new guidelines. So you should:

• check the type of waste you produce

• take steps to reduce the amount of waste

• talk to a waste processing provider for further advice.

Where can I get more help?

The Environment Agency is responsible for implementing the new legislation and has detailed guidelines on its web site at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/waste. Or you can call 08708 506506.

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