22 August 2012 - The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a new guidance document which sets out the criteria for the exact legal definition of waste so that businesses and organisations can decide how best to deal with different materials.
This has been much anticipated since it determines whether particular activities are subject to waste management controls.
Following from a draft document originally published in January 2010, the new guide outlines the factors that should be considered when deciding if a discarded substance continues or ceases to be waste.
This must be assessed against how materials comply with the terms of the Waste Framework Directive, including the Waste Hierarchy.
Criteria includes the nature of a substance or by-product and what its possible uses might be, allowing it to be assessed on a ‘case-by case’ basis to determine if it is waste or not.
The guidance also covers whether a material has been produced with the intention of being used or marketed, as well as whether it is to be re-used for its original purpose or whether it is a left over from the production of a different object or substance.
Defra has stressed in its publication however that the guidance does not seek to change the legal definition of waste, and does not override legal rulings that have been made where the definition has been interpreted in a certain way.