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A key benefit to our members, and strength of the ESA, are our numerous topic-specific working groups which provide members with an opportunity to share knowledge, expertise and operational experience.

The groups are the backbone of the ESA and contribute to producing strong policy and regulatory interventions that truly reflect real-world best practice.

Our working groups are comprised of subject matter expert delegates from across our membership, with support from associates, external consultants and the ESA’s executive team. Minutes and reports for ESA working groups are available for ESA members to view in the members’ area.

The ESA’s Biodiversity working group was formed in 2021 and its purpose is to promote the industry’s contribution towards protecting, restoring, and enhancing biodiversity whilst sharing best practice standards and knowledge across the sector. 

This group is responsible for delivering publications such as the ESA’s Biodiversity Best Practice Guide and Nature Positive Toolkit.

Find out more about the ESA’s biodiversity work programme

Our Biotreatment Working Group is a valuable source of information and knowledge sharing for the treatment of organic wastes from production, collection, consolidation and pre-treatment to treatment through windrow composting, IVC, MBT, MHT, AD, Biomass and residual disposal.

The purpose of our Climate Change working group is to lead and implement industry-wide solutions for issues relating to climate change and emissions from waste management processes, technologies, and other activities.

This vital working group leads on the development and implementation of the ESA’s Net Zero strategy and pursues policy interventions that encourage investment and support our sectoral decarbonisation goals.

Find out more about decarbonising our sector

The Communications Strategy Group was established by ESA’s board in 2017 and its role is to identify communications priorities and risks for the ESA and wider sector, and to develop and deliver a communications strategy for the ESA, supported by the Executive Team and external consultants.

The ESA’s Dry Recyclables Working Group provides a forum and deep source of shared knowledge for issues related to the collection, sorting, recycling and trading of dry recyclables.

As well as establishing industry best practice standards, for example through the ESA’s material quality standards, this working group also leads the ESA’s response to relevant public consultations and calls for evidence.

The ESA’s Energy from Waste (EfW) Working Group is comprised of EfW operators, IBA processors and technical consultants and leads our engagement with regulators and policy-makers while also keeping our wider membership abreast of public policy issues relevant to EfW.

This group also leads our engagement with regulators regarding permitting, compliance, operation and monitoring of EfW plants, as well as the treatment, management, and recycling of residues.

Stemming from the EfW working group, the ESA also convenes a number of sub-working groups looking at specific or more complex areas of EfW policy. Current sub-groups include Carbon Capture, utilisation and Storage (CCUS); Heat Networks; the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the Waste Incineration BREF.

The ESA’s Financial Issues Working Group meets periodically to address specific finance-related issues affecting the recycling and waste treatment sector – helping to support continued investment and investor confidence in the market.

The Hazardous Waste Working Group serves as a repository of expertise in hazardous waste policy and regulation. The group works with Defra, the devolved administrations and regulators to develop, implement and enforce policies, regulations and guidance that will facilitate future investment in high class hazardous waste treatment facilities in the UK.

The group also provides a valuable channel for information and communication between ESA, its members and regulators on technical issues concerning hazardous waste.

The ESA’s Health and Safety Committee is a larger group comprised of the Health and Safety leads from ESA members’ organisations. It allows for free-flowing exchange of information, safety alerts and best practice examples as well as contributing to the development of class-leading industry-wide guidance.

The committee actively engages with HSE, WISH and others to ensure that experience and learning points from ESA Members’ significant reduction in injuries is disseminated widely across the industry as a whole.

The group is also responsible for compiling and monitoring injury statistics to allow resources to be targeted accordingly to areas of highest risk, while ensuring that the industry remains alert to emerging threats and risk of harm.

The purpose of the ESA’s H&S Strategy Group is to prioritise emerging areas of risk and incorporate these into the ESA’s work programme as well as our public affairs strategy – ensuring that national policy supports our standard-setting goals.

The strategy group is responsible for setting the long-term direction of H&S strategy and works closely alongside our full H&S committee to develop and publish H&S collateral.

In addition, there are number of health and safety topic-specific sub-groups which include vehicle specifications, change management, vehicle and pedestrian safety, situational awareness and bioaerosols.

This working group operates on a correspondence basis to discuss and respond to national policy and its implications for planning related to property development and associated operations.

The ESA’s Regulation Working Group aims to monitor and influence good regulation, policy and best practice across the sector. This group serves as a valuable repository of expertise in matters relevant to regulation pertaining to the recycling and waste treatment sector.

Through this group, the ESA is able to promote a constructive, effective, and transparent relationship with regulators across the UK – helping to inform and promote risk-based regulation driven by environmental outcomes rather than operational prescription.

The group is comprised of regulatory and compliance experts from within ESA’s member companies and informs ESA’s responses to public consultations or calls for evidence, while offering a valuable channel for knowledge sharing.

Our Resources and Waste Strategy group co-ordinate the industry’s response to the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy and the implementation of the associated Collection and Packaging Reforms.

The purpose of this group is to inform and engage Government over the practical challenges industry faces in implementing the reforms and to assist in better evidence-based policies and regulation.

The aim of the group is also to ensure that policy-makers understand the conditions industry requires to invest in the infrastructure necessary to deliver reforms on the ground and achieve the desired resource-efficiency objectives.

SESA is the key industry voice for recycling and waste treatment businesses operating solely, or partly, within Scotland.

Recycling and waste treatment is a devolved matter and, as such, Scottish waste policy is formed by the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland, and regulated by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) – often with policy divergences in key areas from UK Government policy.

SESA ensures members are well represented with these and other relevant organisations within Scotland across the whole range of public affairs services offered by the ESA.

The role of our Social Value Working Group is to lead the development, promotion and delivery of social value across the waste and resource management sector.

Since its formation, the group has sought to develop a unified approach and benchmark minimum expectations for social value across the sector. It also identifies and showcases best practice from across the ESA membership – demonstrating ESA member leadership in this area.

The ESA’s Tax Working Group, which comprises tax and finance experts from ESA member companies, provides a forum for the discussion of all taxation-related issues affecting the industry – including all direct and indirect UK taxes and levies (including those devolved to Wales and Scotland). 

In addition to this, the group develops positions on key industry specific tax matters where appropriate; monitors case law and tax legislation changes; examines issues surrounding the use of the taxation system to promote environmental goals; and provides expert input – on request – to other ESA Committees on the potential tax implications relating to their respective remits.

The group also serves as a focal point for discussion with government and other relevant bodies, such as HMRC and HM Treasury, as well as offering advice to ESA’s board.

Our Waste Oil working group provides a vital channel of knowledge sharing for organisations involved in the specialist collection, processing and recycling of waste oils.

This group promotes a constructive, effective, and transparent relationship with Defra and regulators to help inform the development, implementation and enforcement of policies, regulations and guidance affecting the management of waste oil.

The safe treatment of waste electricals and batteries is a key concern for our industry and the ESA’s WEEE working group has been convened to inform a sectoral response to emerging policy reform in these areas.

The group is exploring how revised systems will support collections as well as examining the potential impacts of a mandatory kerbside collection. It is also exploring other options to improve WEEE capture rates and different ways to ease and encourage disposal of WEEE (e.g. in-store takeback, kerbside, DRS, others).

WESA offers a strong industry voice for recycling and waste treatment businesses operating solely, or partly, within Wales.

The WESA committee is an expert group representing the industry on a range of policy and regulatory matters across the various agencies of the Devolved Administration in Wales.

The group promotes a vibrant and competitive private recycling and waste treatment sector in Wales, championing services, customer focus and investment; and addressing policy impediments to successful outcomes in these areas.