| Compliance

Important changes are coming in relation to waste wood

What’s changing?  

The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed that the Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 250 is to be withdrawn, starting from September 1st 2023. This regulation, implemented 2 years ago in August 2021, allows for the temporary storage, processing, and mixing of certain hazardous waste wood, specifically from demolition and refurbishment activities with non-hazardous wood (with a few exceptions).  

The decision to withdraw will lead to businesses having to make immediate changes to the way they handle their waste wood, especially those operating in the construction, housebuilding, social housing or demolition industry 

What is the RPS 250?  

RPS 250 currently allows potentially hazardous waste wood from the C&D industry to be moved and processed as non-hazardous when mixed with non-hazardous wood waste. This was permitted until extensive testing was carried out by the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA). Their findings concluded that the hazardous content in certain wood collections was too high for the waste to be treated in its current state under RPS 250 and the decision to withdraw it was made. 

This means that there is now a shift in the categories your wood waste will fall into which will impact how the material is processed. The testing has created an additional ten waste wood categories that are classed as hazardous. The WRA has confirmed that the testing and analysis are ongoing, and it is expected that more categories will be created. 

  • How does this affect me? 

Most of the hazardous wood has been found to be from structures built in 2007 or before. Whilst this is not a definitive rule, it is important to consider when determining if your business will be affected.  

The Environment Agency has said that the withdrawal is a time for businesses to do the following: 

  • Understand the quantities and types of hazardous waste wood arising from demolition and refurbishment activities. 
  • Apply for a permit to accept hazardous waste wood if there is a market and business need.  

Businesses need to be aware that some forms of wood waste previously sent to a recycling facility will now be classified as hazardous waste and sent to a facility that works in accordance with this. Relevant to items found in structures in 2007 or prior, wood will need to be analysed to see if it’s hazardous. 

Wood waste classification

Wood Waste Classification Guide

The following flow chart details the initial questions that need to be asked when assessing whether your waste wood should be classed as hazardous or non-hazardous.  See guidance pages for further definitions and examples and complete a wood waste WM3 Assessment Confirmation in Appendix 1 to demonstrate that the assessments have been completed. 

 You can download the Reconomy Wood Waste Classification Guide here

Download here

What wood is hazardous?  

It is important for businesses that handle and create wood waste to note that there is no definitive guide to what is or isn’t hazardous. The WRA has produced an official Wood Grading System and guidelines to assist you in this process. They are working on the principle that the more testing producers undertake will lead to more items being removed from the current potentially hazardous list. As a Reconomy customer, we strive to deliver service excellence alongside providing you insights on what’s coming up, and what you need to know before it happens.  


If you would like assistance testing and classifying your waste please get in touch and the relevant account management team can help.