Association of Port Health Authorities

International Catering Waste

International catering waste (ICW) is defined as animal product food waste, and any other material that it is mixed with (including disposable cutlery, plates etc) that comes from international ships or aircraft. ICW is controlled as it presents a risk to animal health were it to get into the animal food chain. Defra International Animal Health Division have policy responsibility for controlling the import, storage and disposal of animal by-products. Animal Health (formerly SVS) are responsible for overseeing the effectiveness of controls on their behalf.

In legislation, there are different classifications of animal by-product and different disposal rules are set for each. ICW is classed as Category 1 waste. Category 1 waste can usually only be disposed of by incineration or rendering, however, a special agreement has been reached which allows ICW to be disposed of in approved landfill sites. However, stricter rules apply for the burial at landfill to prevent wildlife coming into contact with it. Seaports should have Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) approved facilities for the reception of this waste from vessels

More Information
Further information and guidance can be accessed on the Defra Website and from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Defra have published a guidance document outlining the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in ICW disposal.

Defra Guidance (July 08) | Covering letter for guidance (July 08)

General guidance for waste producers on the requirements for the handling and disposal of ICW landed from boats, ships and aircraft that have visited non EU countries can be found on the Defra website.

Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002

  • Controls international catering waste. This regulation sets out Community requirements for the control, importation and disposal of animal by-products.

The Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) Regulations

  • Regulation 29 sets out the Community requirements for the import of products of animal origin into the UK from outside the EU. This regulation implements the import provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 in the UK.
  • Regulation 30-33 control the approval of landfill sites for disposal.
  • These regulations are enforced by local authorities and port health authorities.

The Animal By-Products Regulations 2003

  • These regulations give effect to Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 laying down the rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption. Under these regulations international catering waste is always to be treated as Category 1 animal by-products. The disposal of all by-products, other than international catering waste, is controlled by this legislation irrespective of its origin.
  • This legislation is enforced by Local Authorities - Trading Standards Departments.

The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2003

  • These regulations have been updated following the EU Directive on port waste facilities for ship generated waste and cargo residues. They provide a mechanism for landing waste from shipping for appropriate disposal and prevent it from being disposed of at sea. This legislation controls the landing of waste and the provision of appropriate facilities.
  • This legislation is enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
EC Legislation can be found here and UK legislation here.

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