WM3

In June 2015, the UK’s existing waste classification guidance (WM2) was updated and replaced by WM3. WM3 and the former WM2 outline a system, created for those who manage and regulate waste, to assess the potential for hazards within the waste and to ensure it is handled with the appropriate duty of care.

Helen McDonnell is a principal environmental scientist for ESG’s Infrastructure Services division. She has been a key member of the ESG team for over twenty years. Here, she offers advice around the UK’s recently updated waste management guidance. 

 

Much of the estimated 48 million tonnes of industrial and commercial waste material generated in the UK every year comes from construction sites, chemical plants or factories. This means it is at risk of containing toxins and contaminants that can cause harm to people or the environment. For that reason, identifying any hazards and disposing of waste appropriately is vital.

 

  • Chemicals in wastes are now to be assessed against a different set of criteria, known as hazard statement codes
  • WM3 also contains an updated List of Waste (LoW), a legal classification system for those who need to identify different types of waste and their potential hazards
  • With regard to flammability testing, the threshold/temperature at which a flammable classification applies has changed for some substances  
  • Consideration must now be given to the potential presence of persistent organic pollutants in any waste stream

 

  • Any chemical constituents must be suitably classified following the guidelines in WM3. Once complete, a waste code will be assigned from the LoW 
  • All documents and records should then be filled out accordingly before any waste is moved, disposed of or recovered 

In order to accurately classify contaminants in waste or soil, and determine whether they are hazardous, or non-hazardous, there should always be a consultancy stage, particularly when dealing with material of unknown origin or constituents.

 

  • At ESG, we offer advice, expertise and guidance to ensure our clients are able to quickly identify hazards in their waste and classify them in line with WM3 guidance
  • To help clients handling potentially contaminated construction soils, we also offer chemical fingerprint testing services to identify specific hazards in construction waste

 

If you have any questions about how to manage waste generated by your business or would like to find out more about the WM3 guidance, please get in touch by emailing sales@esg.co.uk