A free, easy-to-use assessment tool designed to help businesses be more resource efficient by putting their waste back to work has been launched by the Environment Agency (EA) in conjunction with waste organisations.

What is it?

The IsItWaste tool will enable businesses to check whether a waste or surplus material is a by-product or whether

it achieves end-of-waste status and can therefore be considered as a product. The tool provides step by step instructions that take users through key decision stages including material composition, risk assessment, product use and end markets. It can also be used to submit an application to the EA’s Definition of Waste Panel for a formal decision if required.

The aim is to remove high quality products derived from waste from the scope of waste legislation to allow businesses to be more resourceful and competitive.

What are the benefits?

Waste derived products can improve business resource efficiency and competitiveness, reduce reliance on landfill and help to conserve virgin raw materials.

Paul Leinster, chief executive of the EA said “The IsItWaste tool helps businesses navigate a complex area of legislation as they seek to transform their waste into useful products. This has environmental and economic benefits.”

Resource Minister, Dan Rogerson has also said “We all have a responsibility to tackle waste and I congratulate the EA 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”.

Other business support measures introduced by the EA within waste legislation include Quality Protocols which set out the quality requirements for certain waste derived products to achieve end-of-waste status. To date the Quality Protocols programme has resulted in:

  • Circa 40 million tonnes of material diverted from landfill
  • Savings of around 77 million tonnes of virgin raw materials
  • Circa 306,000 tonnes of carbon avoided

The latest estimates suggest that by 2020, around GBP 3.5 billion in terms of increased sales and

GBP 1.5 billion in terms of reduced regulatory burden will be realised.

The IsItWaste web tool and accompanying guidance can be accessed here.