Duty of Care and the Journey towards Zero Waste to landfill

November 2017

The Yorkshire Branch held a joint meeting with the Environmental & Waste Management Group, which again proved to be popular with Branch members.

Andy Robertson delivered a full and informative presentation, explaining how waste Duty of Care checks, coupled with a general knowledge of waste processing technologies, can help organisations aspiring to Zero Waste to Landfill establish i) where they are to start with and ii) what they can do, to achieve their objective.

Andy engaged the audience by asking the question Why divert waste from landfill, allowing time for discussion before taking responses and relating those to environmental impacts, landfill tax (government discouragement) and the Waste Hierarchy.

The audience were further engaged in deliberating the issues needing consideration prior to defining the scope of any Zero Waste to Landfill initiative. It became clear that the term can mean different things to different people/organisations.

The important start point of knowing all your waste streams was highlighted, with Andy using quirky examples often overlooked, including on-site road sweepings and gardening waste, shot pigeons, feminine hygiene waste, wastes produced by contractors, as well as wastes sometimes managed by separate departments, such as degreasing waste frequently generated by maintenance departments.

Referencing the duties on waste holders made explicit in Duty of Care legislation (EPA) and guidance, Andy made clear to the audience that it was perfectly reasonable to examine the processes that your waste undergoes after leaving your site.

A simple overview of waste treatment processes and their associated outputs guided the audience as to what questions to ask in order to establish if any of their wastes indirectly went to landfill.

In conclusion, Andy proffered that by creating a Waste Stream Map from the information ascertained from Duty of Care checks, an organisation would be in good stead to not only establish where they were in relation to their Zero Waste to Landfill objective, but to easily identify actions they could take to move their waste up the Waste Hierarchy.

The second speaker was Stuart Armstrong, who kindly stepped in at the last minute to discuss legal updates.

Overall a very insightful meeting with plenty of food for thought for attendees to take back to the workplace.

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