14 April 2020 by Steve Eminton

SEPA issues coronavirus guidance for waste industry

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has published a document stating the ways it will help the waste industry during the coronavirus crisis.  

Because of waste management disruptions during the pandemic, SEPA have said that they are working with local authorities, NHS Scotland and the waste industry to support services and minimise environmental impact.

SEPA said: “SEPA is committed to supporting everyone it regulates during the Covid-19 outbreak, whilst maintaining protection of Scotland’s environment. SEPA will listen, and quickly respond to challenges as they emerge and welcomes early discussions with operations to achieve shared solutions.”

The guidance note can be seen HERE.

In the document, SEPA states that operators must prepare to minimise impact on the environment  when tackling challenges during the Covid-19 outbreak.

SEPA have offered solutions to issues presented to the waste industry, such as minimising physical paperwork and urging electronic communication between teams.

In the document, SEPA said that recycling services should be maintained for as long as possible in line with waste regulations. If local authorities are unable to operate sufficient recycling services, SEPA should be contacted.

Social distancing

The document says that if operators can’t visit sites due to social distancing rules, they should provide assistance to waste management facilities over the telephone or other means.

The guidance published advice on hazardous waste management, stating that it is important it remains secure.

Instead of using the legally required paper consignment notes issued by SEPA to dispose of hazardous waste, the document outlines ways service can create their own SWCN paperwork to manage electronically.

This is also the case for shipment of waste as the law requires hardcopy paperwork to accompany the waste. SEPA have said all necessary documents may be issued electronically.

SEPA advise that as far as possible, waste managers must use email correspondence to record waste transfers to comply with social distancing rules.

The document states that waste producers and managers must comply with Duty of Care obligations, meaning waste criminals must not be allowed to take advantage of current circumstances.

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