Government has launched a free online self-assessment tool to help businesses determine whether a particular waste or surplus material can be reused.
The IsItWaste tool, launched on 11 November, intends to make it easier for companies to assess whether or not a waste-derived material meets legal end of waste status and can therefore be considered as a product in exactly the same way as a non-waste material.
If a material fails to meet end of waste status, it is still legally waste and therefore must comply with waste management controls.
It is hoped that, by making the assessment process more streamlined, the tool will encourage businesses to use more materials from waste, therefore increasing resource efficiency and boosting the domestic market for waste-derived products.
The tool was developed by the Environment Agency in collaboration with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and a number of UK trade bodies, including the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the Environmental Services Association (ESA).
The IsItWaste tool helps businesses to carry out a test assessment on step-by-step basis, by classifying the material in question, assessing the risks involved in comparison to non-waste alternatives, and identifying end markets for the product.
It can then be used to submit an online application to the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste Panel for a formal decision.
The Environment Agency estimates that the tool, along with voluntary quality protocols, could increase UK sales of waste-derived products by £3.5 billion by 2020, and reduce the cost of waste regulation by £1.5 billion.
Resource minister, Dan Rogerson, said: “We all have a responsibility to tackle waste, and I congratulate the Environment Agency and their partners on the new IsItWaste service, which can help businesses save money and create new products from existing materials to generate growth and new jobs.”
Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM, added that the tool would help to “improve business resource efficiency and competitiveness, reduce reliance on landfill, and help to conserve virgin raw materials.”