The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing national-level end-of-waste criteria for recycled aggregates.
End-of-waste marks the point at which a material transitions from waste to a secondary product. Regulation 28(1) of the European Commission (Waste Directive) Regulations 2011-2020 (the Regulations) requires that in order for a recycled/recovered material to be classified as a non-waste, it must meet criteria set out in an end-of-waste decision.
Achieving end-of-waste status for recovered waste materials can support waste recycling and the beneficial use of the waste without damaging human health and the environment. This, in turn, diverts waste from landfill disposal, keeping it in the economy as a resource, which can reduce the environmental impacts arising from waste management.
These overall benefits are consistent with Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy commitment to move away from an over-dependence on landfill and become a recycling society. This will, in turn, help Ireland to move towards a circular economy by maintaining the value of materials for as long as possible and minimising waste.
There are significant benefits to be realised by industry and society from achieving end-of-waste status. Using waste-derived materials reduces the need to exploit primary resources in addition to diversions of waste from landfills or incineration. This can reduce local environmental impacts, such as amenity impacts arising from quarrying and refining, and global environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions.
The following criteria have been drafted by the EPA, which states that recycled aggregate shall cease to be waste where all the following conditions are demonstrated as fulfilled:
- the recycled aggregate results from a recovery operation undertaken under an appropriate waste authorisation;
- the waste used as input for the recovery operation complies with the criteria set out in Part 1 of Annex I;
- the waste used as input for the recovery operation has been treated in accordance with the criteria set out in Part 2 of Annex I;
- the quality of the recycled aggregate complies with the criteria set out in Part 3 of Annex I, including pollutant limits and physical contaminant limits;
- the producer has satisfied storage requirements set out in Part 5 of Annex I;
- the producer has satisfied the requirements set out in Sections 4 to 7; and
- the producer has satisfied requirements with any guidance issued by the Agency in relation to these criteria.
It should be noted that a report on the methodology for deriving pollutant limits, as set out in the attached draft criteria, is currently being finalised and will be made available in due course.
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