EA Begins Trialling New RDF Definition

The Environment Agency (EA) commenced a six-month trial using a new definition for refuse-derived fuel (RDF) earlier this month (8 February).

Defra worked closely with a range of operators with an interest in the RDF sector to develop the new definition, which was published in November last year.

The new definition was outlined as: “Refuse derived fuel (RDF) consists of residual waste that is subject to a contract with an end-user for use as a fuel in an energy from waste facility. The contract must include the end-user’s technical specifications relating as a minimum to the calorific value, the moisture content, the form and quantity of the RDF.“

The aim of the trial is to see if the new definition will bring clarity to what is classified as RDF, helping the EA to regulate the sector, so that any waste described as RDF is legitimate and has a definite end-user.

The EA says this will help address cases of waste being described as RDF being abandoned or causing environmental problems such as leaching, after being stockpiled for long periods. Legitimate businesses in the RDF sector should be unaffected by the definition except by a reduction in non-compliant RDF production.

The EA will be using the definition when dealing with all those involved in the production, storage and use of RDF during the trial period and expect waste producers and operators to consider how they might use the definition when contracting with waste managers and RDF users.

Ahead of the trial, the Agency ran a survey with the waste and resources industry and it’s own environment officers to establish how they might expect the definition to impact issues they have experienced in the last two years.

It will evaluate the use of the definition at the end of the trial, which concludes on 8 August, in order to establish how effective it has been in meeting the objectives of both industry and the regulator.

This evaluation will enable it to finalise the definition and establish how it is to be used in the future.


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