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New Definition Adopted for RDF

Defra has announced that the definition for refuse derived fuel (RDF), which was trialled for six months, will now be formally adopted.

The Environment Agency will use the definition in its day to day work with the RDF sector. It is hoped that a formal definition will address the problems of waste, described as RDF, from being abandoned or causing environmental problems as a result of being stockpiled for long periods.

The development of an RDF definition follows a commitment from Defra that it would look to develop one, alongside a possible treatment standard for RDF. The process began in March 2014, when Defra issued a call for evidence into the market challenges faced by the sector.

Discussion with the industry showed little support for a treatment standard, which it was thought would duplicate existing requirements, such as the rules for separate collection of recyclable materials. A short, light-touch definition to clarify what was expected of RDF was agreed.

The new definition was developed alongside the Environment Agency, who worked with operators with an interest in the RDF sector. Trialled between 8 February and 7 August last year, it will now be adopted on a permanent basis with some minor modifications to the wording. Defra hopes the definition will assist regulation of the sector, ensuring that any waste described as RDF is legitimate and has a definite end-user.

“Refuse derived fuel (RDF) consists of residual waste that complies with the specifications in a written contract between the producer of the RDF and a permitted end-user for the thermal treatment of the waste in an energy from waste facility or a facility undertaking co-incineration such as cement and lime kilns. The written 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.”

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