Hazwaste arisings up in 2006

Hazardous waste arisings increased "significantly" in 2006, according to preliminary data from the Environment Agency.

Arisings leapt from 4.1 million tonnes to 6.1 million tonnes in 2006 - a 46% increase (see figure).

Most of the increase - some 1.6 million tonnes - was connected to a single treatment plant.

The Agency will not name the facility, but says it takes liquid wastes from several industrial processes. Its data lists the waste as falling under chapter 7 of the European Waste Catalogue - waste from organic chemical processes.

But even if this site is excluded from the data, arisings still increased by 291,000 tonnes, or 7%.

The Agency says the rise was due to greater awareness driven by compliance with the hazardous waste regulations, which came into force in July 2005. This has come about through "increased compliance and monitoring activities by us" and the "involvement of waste management companies in educating their customers".

The data seem to show a 60% increase in the volume of waste sent for recycling and reuse to nearly 1.5 million tonnes. Some of this is due to more capacity becoming available, but most is due to changes in the way data was recorded. Implementation of a new data system means some waste previously recorded as "treatment" by the Agency is now recorded as "recycling and recovery".

The volume of hazardous waste sent to landfill continued to decline - down by a quarter to just under 900,000 tonnes. Hazardous waste sent for treatment fell by a third to almost 830,000 tonnes.

There were increases in the amount of hazardous waste sent for incineration and "transfer". The Agency intends to look at this further as part of its quality assurance process.

Arisings of hazardous construction and demolition wastes continued to fall - down 21,000 tonnes to 702,379 tonnes - due to better classification of wastes as a result of high disposal costs.

By far the largest growth in arisings came from waste and wastewater treatment plants due to the requirement to pre-treat waste before it is sent to landfill, as well as changes in how data is recorded.