The main goals of the project
The purpose of the Overview and the Guide is to develop the Guide for public authorities and municipal institutions (the ‘institutions’), and economic entities for the correct assessment and application of national and European Union (the ‘EU’) legislation on the classification of waste in order to ensure proper and efficient identification and classification of hazardous waste leading to safe and efficient collection and management of hazardous waste.
The Guide has been prepared subject to the conclusions of the Overview, good practices in hazardous waste identification, and the analysis of the current situation and experience in identifying and classifying waste in Lithuania and abroad.
The Guide was designed to be clearly understandable and easy to use. Schemes for the classification and identification of waste have been developed for decision-making in response to yes/no questions. This principle and schematically presented algorithms are expected to facilitate the application of the Guide. A separate Annex to the Guide has been added for the identification and classification of hazardous waste produced by households, which provides guidance not only on the classification and identification of waste but also on where the hazardous waste produced by households is to be disposed of. The classification and identification of other waste (not produced by households) is carried out in three stages: Stage I is intended to assess whether the waste is to be identified as hazardous (or non-hazardous) merely by the applicable waste code and without any further action, or whether an additional assessment is to be carried out in accordance with the steps described in Stages II and/or Stage III of the Guide.
Scope of the survey
Overview. When drafting the Overview following the objectives of the TS, the representative survey questionnaires were prepared, and the following respondents were surveyed:
- 30 active business entities generating hazardous waste from their activities, 30 active business entities engaged in the collection and transport of hazardous waste, and 20 active business entities engaged in the hazardous waste treatment;
- two NGOs active in the field of environmental protection, and three licensed organisations of manufacturers and importers active in packaging waste management;
- 13 representatives of municipal administrations and RWMCs responsible for organising the collection of hazardous waste from residents;
- seven public and private scientific and research institutions generating hazardous waste from their activities or holding competence related to the identification of hazardous waste;
- seven laboratories capable of analysing the chemical composition of waste;
- the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and three further public authorities (the State Plant Service (SPS), the National Public Health Centre (NPHC), the Customs Department (CD)) dealing with issues related to waste identification;
- 1,000 Lithuanian residents.
To identify issues and provide generalised recommendations, three round table discussions were arranged during the drafting stage of the Overview, involving a wide range of stakeholders:
- the discussion with representatives of public institutions (the Ministry of Environment (ME), EPA, EPD, NPHC, CD, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA));
- the discussion on the identification and classification of empty packaging of chemical substances or substance-containing mixtures generated in domestic or non-domestic environments, involving the representatives of organisations of packaging manufacturers and importers, the Association of Municipalities of Lithuania and individual municipalities, Regional Waste Management Centres (RWMCs), the Lithuanian Plant Protection Association (LPPA), public institutions, waste producers and waste managers;
- a public discussion with representatives of all stakeholders.
The survey results and the conclusions and insights obtained during the round table discussions are presented in the Overview.
The analysis of the Legal context of the identification and classification of hazardous waste (Chapter 2.1 of the Overview) has shown that all provisions of the Waste Framework Directive1 relating to the identification and classification of hazardous waste had been transposed into the national legal framework of Lithuania. However, in Lithuania, no authority is assigned functions related to the identification and classification of hazardous waste, which includes the provision of methodological support to economic entities. Nor is there a clear procedure for verifying that the waste has been correctly identified.
According to the national waste accounting data, the amount of hazardous waste generated in Lithuania increased by 72% between 2010 and 2019, i.e. from 109.5 thous. tonnes in 2010 to 188.2 thous. tonnes in 2019. The hazardous waste in the total waste stream amounted to 1.9% in 2010 and 2.8% in 2018. The share of non-hazardous waste increased by almost 26% over the same period. According to 2019 data, the most hazardous waste generated in Lithuania was chemical deposits and residues (51.3 thous. tonnes), ELVs (32.4 thous. tonnes), sorting waste (23.4 thous. tonnes), soils and dredging spoils (17.8 thous. tonnes), waste containing asbestos (17.7 thous. tonnes), discarded machines and equipment components (13.5 thous. tonnes), discarded WEEE (6.8 thous. tonnes), and waste oils (6.3 thous. tonnes). The primary source of hazardous waste generation is the service sector (it is far more developed than the industry in Lithuania) and households.
According to the information published by the EPA, about 52% of the generated/collected waste was managed in Lithuania in 2010, and 79% in 2019. In Lithuania, most of the hazardous waste managed (about 45%) is treated, i.e. the main components of the waste are disassembled, re-sorted, and separated. Around 29% of hazardous waste is recycled by means of any of the waste management operations numbered R2 to R9; around 16% of hazardous waste is exported; around 8% – landfilled; and around 8% of hazardous waste is incinerated by means of operation D10.
In Lithuania, the amount of hazardous waste in the total waste stream generated (2.8% in 2018) is below the EU average (4.4% in 2018). In Lithuania, compared to other countries, less used oils, construction waste and health care and biological wastes are generated per capita. However, when comparing data on hazardous waste generated in Lithuania with that of Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia, the outcome is similar. A broader analysis of the statistics on the generation and management of hazardous waste in Lithuania is presented in Chapter 2.2 of the Overview.
The analysis of the methods applied in Lithuania for the identification and classification of hazardous waste has shown that it is quite difficult for waste producers to classify and identify waste; knowledge, easy-to-understand information and methodological support are lacking. The most common methods of identifying waste in Lithuania are a visual evaluation to determine whether the waste is assigned the correct waste code, and a documentary assessment based on the data in the safety data sheet of the product from which it originates. Waste producers also lack specialised training on the identification of hazardous waste. Moreover, there are no laboratories accredited for waste testing in Lithuania. WEEE, ELVs, medical waste, wood waste, ash, and slag waste, used filter materials and wiping cloths, and sewerage sludge have been identified as major waste streams which are potentially misidentified and for which there is a need for the Guide information for identification (see Chapter 2.3 of the Overview for details).
In the foreign countries examined, the identification and classification of hazardous waste is carried out following the EU legal regulation (Chapter 2.4 of the Overview). However, in some countries there are additional national requirements, such as the obligation imposed in Germany to coordinate the correct identification of the waste with the competent authority. As regards the methodologies used for identifying hazardous waste, it should be noted that, in addition to the current EU Guidance2, national waste classification guidelines have been developed in some countries to assess the complexity of the process of the identification of hazardous waste, providing additional methodological support, clarifications and practical examples for identifying hazardous waste.
Chapter 2.5 of the Overview presents good practices of foreign countries in dealing with hazardous waste management (permits, prevention and control measures, and Measures taken in other countries to resolve the management of hazardous waste produced by orphan sites, insolvent enterprises, or enterprises under liquidation because of the bankruptcies).
Proposals on the application of foreign practices in Lithuania and improvement of legal acts are presented in Chapter 2.6 of the Overview.
The Guide. The purpose of the Guide is to summarise the requirements laid down in legal acts and the information contained in reference sources, provide recommendations and decision-making schemes for the correct assessment and application of national and EU legislation on the classification of waste in order to ensure proper and efficient identification and classification of hazardous waste leading to safe and efficient collection and management of hazardous waste. The Guide has been prepared subject to the conclusions of the Overview, good practices in hazardous waste identification, and the analysis of the current situation and experience in identifying and classifying waste in Lithuania and abroad. The Guide is universal and targeted at all stakeholders: waste producers, waste managers, and state and municipal institutions.
The Guide features three stages:
- Stage I: Selection of the proper waste code. At this stage, it is important to select the proper waste code with a view to determining its type (ANH = absolutely non-hazardous, AH = absolutely hazardous, MH = mirror hazardous, MNH = mirror non-hazardous), and to determine whether further action is necessary.
- Stage II: Classification of certain specific waste. At this stage, recommendations are provided on the classification of certain specific waste streams (packaging waste, WEEE, ELVs, wood waste, grinding sludge, filter materials and wiping cloths, rubber waste, and dental waste), considering their specific characteristics, without proceeding with the Stage III steps.
- Stage III: Classification of waste according to the hazardous properties. This stage is required where the waste code to be assigned to the waste is a mirror entry, and the waste has not been identified in Stage II; or where the waste classification algorithm is not foreseen in Stage II.
The Annexes available at the end of the Guide contain reference, methodological and supporting information to facilitate the practical application of the legislative provisions on the classification of hazardous waste, and the examples of the classification of waste are provided. A separate Annex to the Guide has been developed for the uniform identification and classification of hazardous waste generated by households.
Conclusions and suggestions
As the Overview has shown, the problem of identifying and classifying hazardous waste is not limited to the absence of the national Guide. The Guide summarises the requirements laid down in legal acts and provides recommendations and decision-making schemes for the correct assessment and application of national and EU legislation on the classification of waste. For some waste streams, the Guide contains waste classification algorithms without the identification thereof according to the hazardous properties, which is necessary when the waste code to be assigned to the waste is a mirror entry; the Guide also includes examples of the classification of hazardous waste; however, it does not solve institutional, capacity-building or legal issues.
Proposals on the application of foreign practices in Lithuania and improvement of legal acts are presented in Chapter 2.6 of the Overview. Some key proposals are presented below.
- The legislation (the Law on Waste Management or the Law on State Control of Environmental Protection, the Regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Protection Department) should clearly define which authority is responsible for consultation, provision of methodological support, and resolving disputed situations (e.g. where a waste producer and a waste manager cannot reach an agreement) in the area of the identification and classification of hazardous waste.
- The obligation for certain groups of waste producers to provide evidence of the correct identification of waste to the competent authority for approval should be considered, e.g. in cases where a waste producer is not required to hold an IPPC permit for the activities carried out, the resulting waste is identified by the mirror non-hazardous waste code and falls within one of the identified problem streams (see Chapter 2.3.4, Table 9 of the Overview).
- The feasibility should be considered to obtain accreditation for waste testing by the EPA laboratory (or at least a part of it) given the current technical capacity and/or subject to the extension thereof.
- The financing facilities should be planned to encourage accreditation processes for private laboratories.
- The regular training on the management and identification of hazardous waste should be considered for waste producers in the ME/EPD/EPA or through public procurement.
- The information on the hazardous properties of waste produced in Lithuania should be collected and stored (possibly by the competent authority indicated in the above recommendations), by placing the data on a public database, thus allowing economic entities and representatives of public authorities to have access to the information on the hazardous properties and hazardous substances that may render the waste hazardous; where necessary, the Guide should be updated accordingly on the basis of the data received.
- Based on the above data, the Overview, and the Guide, a support tool should be developed (e.g. a spreadsheet) to identify certain hazardous waste that is most often produced in Lithuania; this tool should be updated regularly, considering the available data.
- The support for the waste identification studies should be planned, so that studies on the identification of relevant hazardous properties of waste could be carried out by associations, scientific and research institutions or other bodies, the results of which would be made publicly available in a regularly updated database.
- The cases of the mandatory documented evidence of the waste identification procedure should be regulated.
- The proposal to introduce national eight-digit waste codes for identifying hazardous waste from contaminated soil, depending on the contaminating substances contained in the waste, should considered.
- The manual for the classification and management of wood waste should be developed.