Waste oil protocol agreed at last

End-of-waste protocol for lubrication oil now complete, says the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has announced that tests have finally been agreed, enabling full implementation of a waste protocol for used lubricating oils. These can now be burnt without the controls normally required for waste incineration. The fuel has been widely used in roadstone coating plants, power stations and industrial boilers.

The processed fuel oil (PFO) protocol was agreed last year. It set the quality of the product required to exclude it from waste controls and includes the maximum permitted levels for sulphur, halogens, PCBs and various metals. However, the testing methods and reporting requirements for metals had not been determined. The agency says these are now agreed and form part of the revised guidance.

The measures could save businesses £77m over the next ten years, the agency says. It is encouraging waste oil producers to recycle oils using the protocol, instead of sending them for incineration.

Project manager Graham Donachie said: “Now that the metal testing and reporting requirements are in place, the quality protocol can be fully implemented. Together with the development of the additional test methods, the introduction of a certification scheme will provide additional assurance to both waste processors and end users in the quality of the PFO being supplied to the market.”

The agreement brings to a close a saga which began with waste oil processor OSS Group challenging the agency and the environment department (DEFRA) in the Court of Appeal (ENDS Report, July 2007).

Mark Bridgens of OSS said: “We have been working towards this outcome for the last five years... We are in the unique position of being the only UK business to have UKAS accreditation for all the required parameters of the quality protocol.”

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