Single-Use Plastics Ban (EU)

In legal text (a Directive) adopted 27th March 2019, the European Parliament decided to address the matter of single-use plastics as follows :

(1) Single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to be banned by 2021

(2) 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029

(3) More stringent application of the “polluter pays” principle

Specifically the following Products will be banned in the EU by 2021 :

* Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)

* Single-use plastic plates

* Plastic straws

* Cotton bud sticks made of plastic

* Plastic balloon sticks

* Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

The Directive will also strengthen the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

In addition, the legal text agreed stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.

The Directive now needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers before it enters EU law later this year. Member States will have two years to transfer the legislation into national law.

The Press Release (European Commission) is here.

I will load the Directive (once in law) into subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

Waste Storage and Shipment (UK Brexit)

Yesterday DEFRA issued a reminder to companies to check their waste movements and environmental licences and exemptions (as respects waste).

This reminder is here.

If you or your business collects, transports or stores waste that is due to be exported to the EU, your existing permit or licence still applies and you are expected to continue to meet its conditions.

Given anticipated disruption at some ports, you should make a plan to minimise any impacts on your business:

• review your own capacity and how long you can store waste on your site

• identify alternative storage facilities that could accept your waste

• assess if there are other export routes to market that avoid impacted ports

• identify any alternative recovery or disposal routes for your waste

• contact your haulage operator to discuss any potential changes to transport plans

If you do change your export route, you will also need to change your export notification. This must be agreed by the UK and overseas competent authority. In England, you can contact the Environment Agency for advice, or contact the equivalent competent authority if you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you have to keep additional waste on your site for longer than expected, you will need to consider any resulting environmental risks and take steps to keep these properly controlled.

Your contingency plans need to be compatible with the requirements on your permit. In England, if you are unable to make adequate contingency plans you should contact the Environment Agency for advice.

DEFRA waste consultations (UK)

On 18th February, DEFRA (the UK Environment Ministry) opened up a series of consultations on proposals to change the way waste is managed –

(1) reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system – the proposals will affect producers of packaging, and plastic packaging, at all stages of the chain – here.

(2) introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the Scottish Government had launched a consultation for distinct elements of a DRS, this consultation closed on 25 September 2018 – the proposals relate to drinks containers – here.

(3) introducing a plastic packaging tax – this was announced at the 2018 Budget, to apply from April 2022 on manufactured and imported plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content – here.

Border changes : partnership pack (UK Brexit)

In a major update and bringing together of already issued instructions, the new Partnership Pack (borders) is now issued. Here

Please note the Hauliers sections, and the sections for Specialist Traders.

Note : I already posted about bi laterals in place to continue existing transboundary waste movement contracts. But note the further work that needs to be done in this area.

Waste Transhipments (UK Brexit)

As you know, on exit day (without an agreement in place) the UK will be a third country as respects waste shipments to and from EU member states, and to and from EEA countries (the EU Waste Shipment Regulation is incorporated into the EEA Agreement, NB however, shipments to Norway were always regarded as an export).

DEFRA is working behind the scenes to continue current consents (under the EU Waste Shipment Regulation) beyond the exit day, subject to certain conditions being met.

DEFRA has now informed the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) on their latest enquiry, that (per the CIA email to members) “98% of existing consents under the EU Waste Shipments Regulation have attained agreement from EU member states to continue their validity if the UK withdraws from the EU without a deal. However, there will be additional administrative procedures to follow so please contact your regulator if you require clarification”.

Spain remains the only outstanding member state, and the CIA will continue to work with Government on resolving this issue. The CIA ask to be advised if Spain is of relevance to your waste streams and you have not already informed them, or DEFRA.

[my thanks to a client, for the above information, the understanding is “there were 557 consented exports as of November 2018. As of last week, all bar the 12 Spanish ones (including Gibraltar) have obtained agreement from the MS/CA”.]

Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy (England)

DEFRA today announced a new Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy, applicable in England. Scotland and Northern Ireland already have Food Waste rules, and Wales has stipulations to prevent down the drain disposal.

The (England) Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy is here.

The Hierarchy is as follows :

1 Prevent surplus and waste in your business.

2 Redistribute surplus food.

3 Make animal feed from former food.

4 Recycle your food waste – anaerobic digestion.

5 Recycle your food waste – composting.

6 Recycle your food waste – landspreading.

7 Incinerate to generate energy.

8 Incinerate without generating energy.

9 Send to landfill or sewer.

I will add to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

New Waste Strategy (England)

Waste legislation and policy is a devolved matter in the UK. Today, DEFRA published its Waste Strategy for England, replacing the 2011 waste review and 2013 waste prevention programme. The document “Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England” is here.

This 2018 strategy has the stated aim to contribute to the delivery of five strategic ambitions:

1  To work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025;

2  To work towards eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030;

3  To eliminate avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan;

4  To double resource productivity by 2050; and

5  To eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050.

The document states –

As most of our existing waste legislation is EU-derived, this will be retained in UK law through the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018. And proposals which follow from this Strategy will take account of the future relationship we negotiate with the EU on environmental matters. Where existing legislation is insufficient to deliver our ambition we will take new powers to do so, including through our Environment Bill. And we will work with the devolved administrations to co- ordinate policy on resources and waste, to ensure that approaches are aligned and impacts on the UK Internal Market are minimised.