How to use the Waste Hierarchy to fulfil your duty when completing a Waste Transfer Note

Anyone disposing of waste will be familiar with the Waste Transfer Note but are you confident about completing your Duty to apply the Waste Hierarchy?

This article focuses on the entry on the Waste Transfer Note, which confirms that you have fulfilled your duty to apply the waste hierarchy. It is a simple “tick” box answer. But what are you really confirming and are you confident that you have met your duty.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) & the Environment Agency published guidance on the Waste Hierarchy in June 2011. This publication: Applying the Waste Hierarchy: Evidence Summary was made to accompany the new, at the time, Regulations: The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (2011 No. 988).

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

In this case, you can!

The diagram of an inverted triangle on the front cover provides a summary of the Waste Hierarchy.

At the inverted base of the triangle is Prevention, followed by Preparing for re-use, Recycling, Other recovery and, finally, the apex of the triangle represents “Disposal” with the implication that disposal is the final option after having considered all the other possibilities to re-use, recycle or recover the waste.

The Waste Hierarchy is best understood by looking at one of the practical examples given in the guidance for the options for the waste and resource management of Wood Waste.

Starting at the highest waste hierarchy option, the first stage deals with prevention:

Beneath prevention comes preparing for use:

After considering preparing for use, the next option is recycling:

After recycling comes energy recovery, which may be a viable option for low value wood waste:

Finally, landfill is the the final and last resort waste management option:

I hope that this article has given an insight into the value of the Waste Hierarchy and how it could be applied to your waste.

So, consider applying the Waste Hierarchy before completing your next Waste Transfer Note to give you the confidence to confirm that you have exercised your duty and can tick the “Yes” box with the knowledge that your waste is being treated with the best environmental management option.

If you have any questions on the Waste Hierarchy or the completion of a Waste Transfer Note, please leave a comment below.

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