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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Ever-Changing Waste Landscape

Clare Noble of PHS Wastemanagement looks at the challenges presented by waste legislation and the steps businesses can take to meet the requirements

As pharmaceutical companies become increasingly environmentally aware and look to limit their impact on the environment, new legislation offers a carrot and stick approach to managing the waste mountain, with the clear objective of forcing waste producers to place a much higher emphasis on recycling and recovery.

Businesses which primarily rely on landfill are experiencing spiralling waste disposal costs and these are set to increase further from April 2008 by £8 per tonne every year. In addition, changes to the EU Landfill Directive from October 2007 mean that the 70 million tonnes of waste produced by UK businesses will have to be treated and separated before it can go to landfill.

The latest draft of the EU Landfill Directive means that businesses will have a legal obligation to implement effective waste segregation and recycling schemes. Companies will be faced with three choices; pay an external contractor to segregate waste; face EU fines for non-compliance; or segregate waste on-site and reap the environmental, financial and corporate benefits for doing so.

Significant changes to waste legislation have already been introduced over the last five years. In particular, there has been a drive towards ‘producer responsibility’, which, in essence, means encouraging businesses to be conscious of the amount of waste they produce and how they dispose of it.

Waste legislation is increasingly placing a duty of care on the waste producer to take responsibility for their waste lifecycle. Examples of this drive to highlight producer responsibility are evident in both the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, 2007.

While some may argue that these regulations have become little more than a permit trading scheme, the intention to tackle the 10 million tonnes of packaging waste produced in the UK each year is clear.


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Clare Noble joined the PHS Group as a graduate trainee in 1991. She gained experience in different roles within the company before becoming Regional Operations Manager for Washrooms, a position which she held for five years. In 2003, Clare was promoted to Managing Director of the Wastemanagement division. She has a keen interest in evolving waste technology and represents PHS on waste trade bodies.
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