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Report into the Significance of European Regulations for the Supervision and Control of Shipments of Waste for the Toner Cartridge Re-manufacturing Industry

Prepared for Coates Electrographics Limited, Midsomer Norton

by A J Steel BSc (Hons) AMIEE

Background
Waste Regulations
Control of Waste
Classification of Toner Cartridges
Procedure for Importing Amber/Red List Waste
Future Policy Changes
Importing to the Republic of Ireland
Summary
Recommendations
Annex A
Response to Parliamentary Question
Annex B
List of Contact Numbers

Ó A J Steel 17 April 1997
All rights reserved.

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1. Background

1.1 In March 1997, Dataproducts (Dublin), a leading toner cartridge re-manufacturer, expressed concerns regarding EU regulation 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community. The regulation provides classification of waste products into Green, Amber and Red categories with varying degrees of restriction on their movement into, out of or around the community.

1.2 Classification of waste is based on Annexes II, III and IV to regulation 259/93, since amended in November 1996 by Annexes II, III and IV of Commission Decision 94/721/EC.

2. Waste Regulations

2.1 The purpose of the EU regulation for the control of waste shipments is to ensure that wastes that are potentially harmful to humans or the environment are properly dealt with by those responsible for their production. The desire is to reduce the production of harmful wastes and, where this is not possible, to make the producer responsible for disposal. The producer can be taken to mean the individual, company or country of origin and thus there is a requirement for each country to make suitable provision for waste disposal without the need to transfer it to another country.

2.2 There are, however, sound environmental and economic arguments to transfer waste in some circumstances. For example, a country may have developed a recovery system or re-processing plant that would enable waste to be recovered instead of being dumped in its country of origin. In these circumstances, the shipment of waste is permitted but closely regulated to ensure that the spirit of the regulation is being maintained or suitably taxed.

2.3 The UK Government policies are set out in the United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste. Specific clarification of the policies was provided in a written reply to a Parliamentary Question in May 1996, which draws a distinction between the regulations for OECD and non-OECD countries but also states that imports of wastes for genuine recovery operations may continue. A copy of this reply is included at Annex A to this report.

2.4 Waste classified on the Green List is not considered to warrant special attention and may be imported without special license. Waste classified on the Amber and Red lists require the prior knowledge or consent of the UK Environment Agency for import or export to and from the UK, together with notification of each shipment. For Amber List items it can be assumed that approval will be granted but for Red List waste, written approval is required.
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3. Control of Waste

3.1 The UK Government has charged the Environment Agency (EA) with the responsibility to supervise and control the shipment of waste. Each local EA office is responsible for shipments into and out of their area and will handle all the appropriate paperwork.

3.2 To ensure a fair and uniform approach to waste classification and management, the EA establishes and issues national policy for the benefit of local agency staff. The Thames Area EA (Mr Andy Marlow) is currently working on the policy for the classification of toner cartridges for which the Manchester office (Mr David Carlisle) has previously taken the co-ordinating role.
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4. Classification of Toner Cartridges

4.1 The EA's current policy for the classification of toner cartridges is that they should be regarded as Amber List waste. This is based on the fact that the cartridges are contaminated with toner which is considered to come under the description of:

"AD 090 - Wastes from the production, formulation and use of reprographic and photographic chemicals and materials not elsewhere specified or included"

4.2 There is a suggestion that the above description is inappropriate for toner cartridges and that, until such time as a definitive classification can be agreed, the toner cartridges should be classified as 'Unassigned' in the Red List. The significance of this is that it would highlight the need to provide a more appropriate classification in either the Amber or Green List. It is the view of the EA (Thames) that by putting the cartridges into the 'unassigned' category, ultimately there is a better chance of reclassifying the cartridges within the Green List.

4.3 The responsibility for category descriptions within the 3 lists lies with the Technical Assessment Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The lists are standard lists used by all participating countries and are not frequently amended.
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5. Procedure for Importing Amber and Red List Waste

5.1 Companies wishing to import Amber or Red List waste are required to register each country from which they wish to import with their local EA. Thereafter, each shipment must be documented and registered with the local EA. For Amber List waste, there is tacit approval for import, so shipments may proceed without written consent, provided the paperwork has been submitted. For Red List waste, the importer must have the written consent from their local EA office before the shipment takes place.

5.2 The charges levied by the EA for importing Amber List wastes into the UK are as follows:
  • Registration of exporting country 323 per country
  • Registration of shipment 25 per shipment
These charges do not include any charges that may be levied by the exporting country.
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6. Future Policy Changes

6.1 Recognising that the current classification of toner cartridges may be inappropriate, the EA, at the request of a major photocopier manufacturer, is investigating toner composition to establish whether a more appropriate classification exists or whether a new category is required. Should a new category be required, a case would need to be made to the OECD Technical Assessment Committee. This would have to address the composition of toners throughout the industry to ensure that a new classification would exclude potentially hazardous material in all cases.

6.2 The EA would wish to consult the industry before making a case for technical assessment and would welcome support from interested parties. In particular, they would wish to show that the composition of toner does not vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

6.3 Any case made to the OECD Technical Assessment Committee would be for an assessment of the toner itself as it is this that is currently of concern. The industry believes the toner to be non-hazardous for both humans and the environment, with dust being the only risk worthy of consideration. It would be in the interests of any toner manufacturer to assist this case if they are likely to want to ship waste toner at some time in the future.

Update on Position of the Environment Agency 11 Dec 97
Classification of Cartridges: The major photocopier manufacturer mentioned in paragraph 6.1 is not intending to press further for a new classification for toner cartridges. They will therefore remain in category AD090 in the AMBER list.

Anybody now seeking a change to this policy will need to contact Thames EA and submit the necessary documentation and case to the Department of the Environment for onward transmission to the appropriate OECD committee.
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7. Importing to the Republic of Ireland

7.1 The competent authority for the control of waste shipments to the Republic of Ireland is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Wexford. There are currently no hard and fast rules for the import of Amber or Red List wastes as the agency is still working to the provisions of the Toxic and Dangerous Waste Act. Import of waste under this act requires a license from the agency before shipment is permitted. If toner cartridges fall under the provisions of the Toxic and Dangerous Waste Act, the importer has a legal obligation to obtain a license from the EPA. If not, there is unlikely to be any legal difficulty until rules and procedures for Amber list wastes are developed.

7.2 The EPA has recently been given powers to licence waste recovery operations under the new Waste Management Act, but has yet to grant any licences. This legislation is not yet fully developed and is principally concerned with landfill operations. It is likely that the next development of this legislation will include the policy for the import of Amber List waste.

7.3 Given that it appears to be legally acceptable to import spent toner cartridges to the Republic of Ireland under the current state of the law, it may be wise to pre-empt developments in policy by seeking an agreement from the EPA that toner cartridge import for re-manufacture may continue unrestricted.

7.4 The competent authority for the shipment of waste out of the Republic of Ireland is the local authority.
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8. Summary

8.1 The Local Environment Agency offices in the UK and the Environmental Protection Agency in the Republic of Ireland are responsible for the supervision and control of shipments of waste.

8.2 Local EAs are currently treating spent toner cartridges as Amber List waste, which requires registration of each country from which imports are to be received. In addition each shipment will need to be registered to maintain an audit trail.

8.3 Imports into the Republic of Ireland may require the prior written approval of the Environmental Protection Agency at Wexford but formal policy has yet to be developed.

8.3 It is possible that future advice will temporarily classify toner cartridges as Red List waste, requiring written approval for import from the local EA, pending a more suitable waste category.

8.4 The Thames Area EA is working on the policy for classification of toner cartridges and has a representation from a major photocopier manufacturer which is seeking to allow classification of toner cartridges on the Green List.
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9. Recommendations

It is recommended that:

9.1 Re-manufacturers wishing to import spent toner cartridges, contact their local Environment Agency Office (see Annex B for contact information)

9.2 Re-manufacturers assume that the EA will agree to Amber List classification for the immediate future.

9.3 Re-manufacturers importing to the Republic of Ireland contact Duncan Laurence at the EPA to ensure that shipments will not present a problem.

9.4 Toner manufacturers provide technical support and assistance to the Thames Area EA as required to enable the classification to be changed to Green List.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this report, AJS Consultancy Services accepts no liability for any errors or omissions herein.

 

Ó Copyright A J Steel 17 April 1997
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Annex A

DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT 208 16 May 1996

GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES NATIONAL PLAN FOR EXPORTS AND IMPORTS OF WASTE

The Government today published the United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste. The Plan provides the means to implement the Governments long-standing policy of self-sufficiency in waste disposal, whilst preserving legitimate trade in wastes moving for recovery. The Plan is legally binding throughout the United Kingdom, and will come into effect on 1 June 1996.

In a written reply to a Parliamentary Question from Roy Thomason MP (Bromsgrove), James Clappison, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, said:

"The Governments policies are set out in the United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste, which is published today, and comes into operation on 1 June 1996."

"Under the Plan, which is legally binding throughout the United Kingdom, all exports of waste for disposal are banned, as are most imports for disposal other than in exceptional cases where wider environmental considerations apply. Exports of waste for recovery to countries within the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) may continue but, subject to limited exceptions, exports of hazardous waste for recovery to non-OECD countries are banned. Imports of waste for genuine recovery operations may continue."

"The Governments policy proposals for waste exports and imports were initially outlined in a statement by my Right Honourable friend, the Member for South Ribble, who was then Minister for the Environment and Countryside, on 15 June 1994. The Department consulted on a draft document during February and March 1995; some 750 copies were dispatched, and 73 responses were received from industry, waste regulators and members of the public. Copies of non-confidential responses have been placed in my Departments library. The final text of the Plan incorporates various changes to meet the concerns and interests of those consulted."

"A Compliance Cost Assessment has been undertaken in relation to the Plan. Copies of both the Plan and the Compliance Cost Assessment have been placed in the Library."

"The Plan provides the means to implement the Governments long-standing policy of self-sufficiency in waste disposal, whilst preserving legitimate trade in wastes moving for recovery. It also takes account of the United Kingdom's international obligations, in particular under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal."

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal provides a framework for states to control movements of hazardous wastes. Parties to the Convention may ban imports of wastes, and shipments are not allowed between Parties and non-Parties without specific (bilateral or multilateral) agreements. Where shipments do occur, the Convention provides for a global system of environmental controls in which the onus is on the exporting state to ensure environmentally sound management of the wastes.

The UK, together with the EC, became Parties to the Basel Convention on 8 May 1994. The EC Waste Shipments Regulation (259/93), which implements the obligations of the Convention in the Community, came into operation on 6 May 1994. The Regulation is directly applicable, and does not require transposition into national legislation. However, additional legislation was required to give full effect to some of its provisions. These matters are covered in the Transfrontier Shipments of Waste Regulations 1994, which came into operation at the same time.

In these Regulations, the Government took powers for the Secretary of State to prepare a waste management plan setting out his policies on waste imports and exports, in accordance with the EC Framework Directive on Waste. The Regulations require competent authorities (the Environment Agency for England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and district councils in Northern Ireland) to raise objections to shipments which do not conform to this plan.

The Governments original proposals were announced on 15 June 1994. Public consultation on a draft of the Plan took place in February and March 1995. The Government also invited other EC Member States and the European Commission to collaborate in the preparation of the Plan, consistent with the EC Framework Directive on Waste.

The Plan completes the legislative measures taken to implement the Governments policy of national self-sufficiency in waste disposal, as set out in the 1990 White Paper This Common Inheritance. It sits alongside the Waste Strategy Making Waste Work, which was published on 12 December 1995, though the Plan relates to the whole of the UK, whereas the Strategy only concerns England and Wales. Unlike the Strategy, which is an advisory and non-binding document, the Plan has statutory effect.

Copies of the Plan are available from HMSO Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT. ISBN 0-11-753181-2, price 15.

Copies of the Compliance Cost Assessment are available on request from: Waste Policy Division, Room A232, Romney House, 43 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3PY.


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Annex B

CONTACT INFORMATION

UK Environment Agency

You can contact your area Environment Agency by dialling 0645 333111, which is automatically routed to your local office. You will need to speak to the Waste Management Desk.

Thames (Working on EA policy for toner cartridges)

Andy Marlow 0171 587 3066

Update on Position of the Environment Agency 11 Dec 97

Thames Area EA: Since April, Mr Andy Marlow from the Thames Area EA has moved on to other work. If you wish to know the latest position on the classification of spent toner cartridges you should speak to:
Mr Kirit Patel 0171 587 6010

Manchester (Co-ordinator for Waste Management of subject material)

David Carlisle 0161 829 7975

South West Region

Regional Office

Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter, EX2 7LQ
01392 444000 Fax: 01392 444238

North Wessex Area Office

Rivers House, East Quay, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 4YS
01278 457333 Fax: 01278 452985
Ray Purdy Waste Control
01278 475333 Ext 4554

Cornwall Area Office

Sir John Moore House, Victoria Square, Bodmin, PL31 1EB
01208 78301 Fax: 01208 78321

Devon Area Office

Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter, EX2 7LQ
01392 444000 Fax: 01392 444238

South Wessex Area Office

Rivers House, Sunrise Bus Park, Higher Shaftesbury Road, Blandford, DT11 8ST
01258 456080 Fax: 01258 455998

Environmental Protection Agency (Republic of Ireland)

The Irish Environmental Protection Agency is based at Wexford.

Duncan Laurence Transfer & Shipment +353 53 47120

Republic of Ireland, Department of the Environment

Custom House, Dublin 1
Press and Information Office for developing ministerial policy
+353 1 873 0363

Coates Electrographics

Dr Derek Wilson Chief Scientist 01761 414471 (Exchange)
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