Contractors warned over surge in contaminated plastic waste

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
Share

Contractors are being told to clean up their act after thousands of tonnes of contaminated plastic film and wrap produced in construction were blocked from export at UK ports.

Fresh crackdown after surge in illegal export of plastic waste contaminated with mud, sand and brick
Fresh crackdown after surge in illegal export of plastic waste contaminated with mud, sand and brick

The Environment Agency has pointed the finger at construction and demolition as the worst offenders for generating waste contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood.

Waste exporters are frequently classifying this as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but it is often contaminated poor grade plastic waste which is illegal to export.

Firms convicted of illegally exporting this contaminated waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence.

But Agency enforcers are warning construction firms are also in the firing line and could face enforcement action if they are found to show disregard for the environment.

During the last year, the EA said it had intercepted huge numbers of shipments to prevent their illegal export.  Of 1,889 waste containers inspected at English ports, agency enforcers stopped a quarter from being illegally exported.

This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.

It said exporters were undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.

Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “We are seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by our officers.

“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations.

“It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else – even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly.

“We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”

Simple, practical steps to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally

Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste

  • Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely.Businesses can also check if waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
  • When a waste collector is transporting site waste, contractors must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
  • Contractors must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which records what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
  • Contaminated C&D waste plastic – including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film – must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.

Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at intelligence@environment-agency.gov.uk or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information.

Latest news

Akela Group moves into England with new Leeds hub

Scottish civils contractor looks to boost business by 10% with move south of the border
5 hours ago

Three brickies fall through stairwell on St Modwen Homes site

House builder fined £200,000 after trio suffer serious injuries falling 2.5metres through temporary cover
6 hours ago

Sellafield plans £3bn infrastructure delivery partnership

Morgan Sindall/Arup alliance to be replaced by three delivery partners
13 hours ago

Billington cheered by big shed and infrastructure job surge

Steelwork specialist reports challenging market as main contractor clients squeezed by inflationary pressure
11 hours ago

Bid race starts for £1.6bn Pagabo civils framework

New civils framework will be split into four project-size lots
1 day ago

SEGRO to start £300m futuristic food production hub

Advanced 1.8m sq ft food growing facility planned near Derby
12 hours ago

First contractor fined after 316,000 HSE Covid spot checks

One prosecution so far following blitz of workplace Covid spot checks during pandemic
1 day ago

Ten fire crews tackle blaze at Hinkley

Temporary building on giant construction site goes up in flames
12 hours ago

Fusion21 refreshes consultants framework

Firms expected to support around 100 projects a year
12 hours ago

Builders’ merchants merge to create 123-branch chain

Independent Builders Merchant Group territory now extends from Corwall to Kent
1 day ago

Digger topples into trench on Costain M6 job

Driver in lucky escape after 13t excavator upends in central reservation drainage trench
2 days ago

Inquiry starts into construction of Scottish hospitals

Focus on construction problems at two major hospital sites
1 day ago

Thompsons blow down iconic Dorman Long tower – video

Controlled explosions bring down four Redcar steelworks structures at once
1 day ago

Manchester crane driver rescued after falling ill in cab

Emergency services lower stricken operator in a stretcher from tower crane cab
2 days ago

Taylor Wimpey MD joins Weston Homes

Peter Gore to oversee delivery of £2bn work pipeline
2 days ago

Henry Construction to build £32m Ealing resi scheme

Financing deal paves way for start on 14-storey scheme
5 days ago

Bourne hires new engineering director

Steelwork contractor appoints Denis McNelis to broaden its reach
2 days ago

50 firms win £3.6bn National Highways renewals deal

Morgan Sindall, Eurovia and Osborne win super regions civils
5 days ago

McLaren wins new Aston Martin F1 factory race

£200m development near Silverstone will take 18 months to complete
4 days ago

Kent Council seeks four partners for £500m pipeline

Council drops 17-supplier framework to partner with just four contractors
5 days ago

Robertson set to seal £150m Cardiff Arena deal

Cabinet to sign off contractor and business case for construction start next spring
5 days ago

VolkerFitzpatrick wins £82m Hull turbine blades factory

Deal to upgrade and build two more factories follows on from job five years ago
5 days ago

Lorne Stewart battles to return to profit

Harrow-based M&E group begins to curb losses
4 days ago

Kier returns to profit after two-year turnaround

Contractor makes £5.6m after £225.3m loss last time
6 days ago

Galliford Try returns to profit with margin at 2%

Order book swells to £3.3bn with 90% of work in place for 2022
6 days ago

Fire hits £120m Tolent Milburngate site

Blaze breaks out behind cavity wall as site evacuated
6 days ago

Roof tile maker Marley to float on stock market

Private equity firm unveils plan to take Britain's largest roof tile maker public
5 days ago

Plans in for Lancashire 1,700 inmate prison

Seven houseblock HMP Wymott 2 planned near Leyland
6 days ago

Michael Gove named new housing secretary

Gove replaces Robert Jenrick in Cabinet reshuffle
6 days ago

Redrow happy for staff to keep working from home

House builder says staff can work "where they are most efficient"
6 days ago

Contractor services