What is Hazardous Waste?
Hazardous waste is waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, gases, or sludges. They can be discarded commercial products, like cleaning fluids or pesticides, or the by-products of manufacturing processes.
Who Regulates Hazardous Waste?
The hazardous waste industry is regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Natural Resource Wales (NRW) in Wales, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
How does this affect me?
You must make sure hazardous waste produced or handled by your business causes no harm or damage.
You have responsibilities known as your ‘duty of care’.
You must also meet extra requirements depending on whether you’re a waste:
• Producer or holder (you produce or store waste)
• Carrier (you collect and transport waste)
• Consignee (you receive waste, eg for recycling or disposal)
What do I need to do?
You must describe any waste your business produces before you send it for recycling and disposal.
Classifying your waste will help you:
• Decide how to handle it
• Complete the paperwork you must give waste contractors so they can manage your waste - this is part of your ‘duty of care’
Your description must include:
• The waste classification code, also referred to as LoW (List of Waste) or EWC (European Waste Catalogue) code.
• Whether it’s hazardous
• The type of premises or business where the waste was produced
• The name of the substance or substances
• The process that produced the waste
• A chemical and physical analysis
• Any special problems, requirements or knowledge related to the waste.
You must consider all the waste your business produces.
How do I know if my waste is hazardous?
In most cases you can check the waste code or codes associated with your type of waste - it’ll have an asterisk if it’s hazardous.
Some wastes may have both hazardous and non-hazardous entries, eg where one refers to the containing hazardous substances.
In these cases, you must determine the waste’s composition and assess if it has hazardous properties or components before you can classify it - check the manufacturers’ product safety data sheets for this information.
Many products include orange and black danger symbols or red and white hazard pictograms to indicate they’re hazardous.
Some products (eg cosmetics and medicines) aren’t normally labeled with hazard symbols - check the product’s safety data sheet.
It’s illegal to mix a hazardous waste with either non-hazardous or another hazardous waste.
Do I need to register as a hazardous waste producer?
If your site is in Wales and generates more than 500kg of hazardous waste per year, you must register as a hazardous waste producer.
FROM 1 APRIL 2016 – Site registrations are no longer required in England.
Sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland do not need to be registered.