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Managing Hazardous Waste

What Is Hazardous Waste?

Waste is defined as hazardous if it, or the substances it contains, are harmful to human health or the environment. Typical examples of hazardous waste are:

  • Asbestos
  • Chemicals for example brake fluid and printer toner
  • electrical goods with harmful components (computer monitors & TVs)
  •  fluorescent light tubes and energy saving light bulbs
  • vehicle & lead-acid batteries
  • oils(except edible oils)
  • refrigerators containing ozone-depleting substances
  • solvents
  • pesticides

Each hazardous waste is defined by the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) and given a six digit code. For example, 17 06 05 is construction materials that contains asbestos. 

The EWC has two types of hazardous waste:

  • Absolute entries are always hazardous, for example waste from nickel cadmium batteries
  • Mirror entries are only deemed as hazardous if they contain a hazardous component, for example, mercury or arsenic. 

Producing Hazardous Waste

All businesses producing hazardous waste have a responsibility to ensure that it is handled correctly. If a waste is hazardous and an organization produces or stores more than 500 kg in any 12 month period then they must register their premises with the Environment Agency.  The Environment Agency will then provide a premises code. Multiple premises will each need a code. 

Moving Hazardous Waste

An organization must ensure their waste is

  • transported by a registered or exempt waste carrier
  • accompanied by a consignment note
  • sent to an approved facility that is suitable for the type of waste. 

 It is essential that when hazardous waste is moved, it is accompanied by an Environment Agency consignment note until it reaches its final destination. Copies of consignment notes must be kept for three years. If waste is moved by more than one carrier then a carrier’s schedule will need to be produced. These are available from the Environment Agency or can be produced in-house.

Disposing of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste must be disposed of, or treated by, an appropriate facility. It must not be treated in-house unless the organization is authorized to do so. Treatments for hazardous waste include thermal, physical, chemical or biological. 

Hazardous waste sent to landfill must go to a site that is authorized to accept it. However, different sites may have different competencies for its treatment. Landfill sites will only accept certain types of waste where:

  • the landfill site’s permit allows that type of waste
  • a waste acceptance criteria is met
  • the landfill operator is prepared to accept it.

Certain types of waste are banned from landfill, these include wastes that are explosive, corrosive, flammable or infectious.

Information on hazardous waste is available from the Environment Agency.
Guidance on disposing hazardous waste is available from the NetRegs site.

Download this information as a fact sheet: Hazardous Waste Fact Sheet

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