The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations came into force throughout Europe in June 2007. They introduce a system to gather hazard information, assess risks, classify, label and restrict the marketing and use of individual chemicals and mixtures produced or imported within the EU.
The REACH Regulations apply to recycled aggregates sold as recovered products, but with limited obligations. The Regulations also apply to aggregates recovered from mineral and industrial wastes. This page provides the latest advice.
Waste, as defined within the Waste Framework Directive, is explicitly excluded from REACH by not being classified as a substance, preparation, or article (Article 2(2) of the REACH Regulations). You don't need to register with REACH if you are simply producing waste. However, if you are reprocessing waste and recovering it, REACH applies from the point where waste ceases to be waste and it is placed on the market.
WRAP, together with the UK REACH CA (Competent Authority) and the European Aggregates Association, has been working with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) on the REACH status of recycled aggregates produced from construction and demolition waste.
The latest (May 2010) ECHA Guidance on waste and recovered substances clarifies that recycled aggregates, produced according to a set of criteria equivalent to the requirements of the “Quality Protocol for the production of aggregates from inert waste", are classified as “articles”, hence do not in general require registration. Please consult section 188.8.131.52 and Appendix 1, section 1.4 of the ECHA Guidance on waste and recovered substances for a definition of "article" and an explanation of how recycled aggregates qualify as such.
Please note that registration of "articles" might be required if:
Such cases should not apply to recycled aggregates, which are by definition produced from inert waste (which is chemically stable and does not contain dangerous substances).
Producers of recycled aggregates recovered from waste according to the QP protocol who have pre-registered their products are advised by the UK REACH CA to de-activate their preregistration.
No further registration obligations apply.
Natural minerals are exempt from the need for registration (REACH Regulations Annex V, paragraph 7); similarly, window and container glass are exempt, according to REACH Regulations Annex V paragraph 11.
Fly ash and slags are likely to be registered as ‘UVCB substances’, i.e. substances of Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials, which cannot be sufficiently identified by their chemical composition.
According to the latest ECHA Guidance on waste and recovered substances (Appendix 1, section 1.4), they require registration unless Article 2(7)(d) of the REACH Regulations applies. Further information on the exemption granted by Article 2(7)(d) is available from section 2.3 of the ECHA Guidance on waste and recovered substances.
Similarly, incinerator bottom ash is still likely to be subject to the requirements of the REACH Regulations.
Producers of the above secondary aggregates are advised to refer to their suppliers, whose European representative organisations (e.g. EuroSlag, Eurelectric) are working on the registration requirements.
Producers of recovered aggregates requiring registration will need to fulfill all the requirements of the REACH Regulations.
Producers and users of articles such as recycled aggregates still have some responsibilities under REACH in terms of gathering, supplying and disseminating information to ensure safe use of the articles. These responsibilities should already be fulfilled under the requirements of the standards and specifications for aggregates.
Further REACH requirements for producers of recovered waste, e.g. origin of waste, composition, other documentation that might be requested by ECHA to prove that recycled aggregates are articles not requiring registration, should be satisfied by compliance with the QP for aggregates produced from inert waste.
Please contact the Health and Safety Executive, which is the UK REACH Competent Authority (UK REACH CA) and has set up a dedicated helpdesk (UKREACHCA@hse.gsi.gov.uk or 0845 408 9575) for general enquiries and information on the implications of REACH. Further information is also available from DEFRA.