Pharma cos face rising waste disposal costs

Related tags Hazardous waste Recycling

UK companies producing hazardous waste - including the
pharmaceutical industry - are facing a dramatic reduction in the
number of landfill sites in the UK that will accept the material.

From 16 July, the number of landfill sites accepting hazardous waste will be cut from 200 to 10, and there will be a ban on dumping hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste in the same landfill. In addition, all hazardous waste will need to be treated before it is landfilled. The UK's Environment Agency has just sent out notices reminding businesses who create hazardous waste in the pharmaceutical sector of the changes, highlighting their legal obligation to handle it safely and responsibly, and to only give it to properly licensed waste carriers or waste facilities. "The loss of landfill capacity and the requirement for hazardous waste to be treated after July 2004 is expected to have a significant impact on the ability of business to dispose of their wastes," said the Environment Agency in a statement. To prepare as much as possible for the changes, the Agency is urging businesses to follow a five-point plan: Check whether your waste is hazardous using Environment Agency guidelines at Know where your hazardous waste is going. Businesses have a legal duty of care to ensure that their hazardous waste is passed to someone who has the authority to handle it, such as registered waste carriers or properly authorised waste management facilities, and failure to do so might result in your waste being illegally handled or flytipped, leading to the prosecution of your business, as well as the flytipper. Explore options to reduce the amount of hazardous waste you produce. The handling, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste is expensive. However, hazardous waste minimisation (including substituting hazardous materials for non-hazardous materials) provides a real opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Budget for rising costs for the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. The Environment Agency estimates that the cost of managing hazardous wastes will rise from £150 million (€224m) to £500 million per year. Keep up to date - recent changes have resulted in more waste becoming hazardous. For some businesses this may mean that it will become a hazardous waste producer for the first time, as hazardous waste classification encompasses a broader range of equipment and materials than ever before.

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