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Hazardous Waste Information

New legislation on how we deal with hazardous waste has come into force, and more is still to come. So it is important that you know the facts and are prepared for how this may impact on you.

In January 2002 changes to the Hazardous Waste List were applied in the EU, this resulted in an additional 180 wastes classified hazardous. Small businesses, in particular - even some larger ones will now find themselves dealing with hazardous waste for the first time.

From 16th July 2004 the co-disposal of hazardous waste with non hazardous waste at the same landfill site was banned.

As of 16th July 2005 the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) will come into force. Producers of hazardous waste will have to make sure that waste to landfill meets the WAC. It is therefore essential that businesses can describe exactly what their waste contains, this 'characterisation' will determine what can be done to minimise it, ease its recovery or ensure its safe disposal.

Do you produce hazardous waste?

If you are a business and you produce waste, your waste could be hazardous. Determining whether your waste is hazardous must be done by assessing the content of your waste streams.

If you are not sure whether you produce hazardous waste or not, or to find out what constitutes a hazardous property you ought to check on the website of your Environment Agency or call your local office for advice in this regard.

The regulator

In England and Wales, this is The Environment Agency, 08708 506 506.

In Scotland it is the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), 01786 457700.

And in Northern Ireland it is the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland (EHSNI), 028 9054 6463.

The Environment Agency can:

  • Provide advice on how to improve your environmental performance;
  • Provide advice on how to comply with regulations and keep up to date with forthcoming legislation;
  • Direct you to technical guidance and give information on best practice; and
  • Inform you about enforcement positions.

What must you do?
The regulators for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have jointly produced NetRegs, which is a single source for information on regulatory requirements. The Waste Section of this website provides details about the regulatory requirements for hazardous waste.


Waste is hazardous when it contains substances or has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment. The term 'hazardous' does not always mean that such waste is immediately toxic, though some can be. By improving the way in which we manage all wastes classified as hazardous we reduce the risk they might pose now and in the future. For further information please visit the hazardous waste section on the Environment Agency's web site.

Classification of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is defined in the Hazardous Waste List which is now incorporated in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC).

As mentioned earlier in January 2002 changes to the Hazardous Waste List were applied in the EU, this resulted in an additional 180 wastes now classified hazardous. This means that the amount of hazardous waste the UK produces will grow. For example, TVs, fluorescent tubes and pesticides are now classified as hazardous waste.

Wastes on the list are defined as Absolute entries or Mirror entries.

Absolute entry
Waste that is hazardous, regardless of its composition or concentration of 'dangerous substances', for example oil and lead batteries.

Mirror entry
Waste that could be hazardous or non-hazardous, depending on its actual composition and concentration of 'dangerous substances'.

However, if a hazardous component can be identified and removed, the remaining waste can then become non-hazardous, whilst the removed component remains hazardous. For example, when a TV is disposed, the cathode ray tube, a hazardous component, can be removed to make the TV a nonhazardous waste.


Is my waste hazardous?

In order to assess this, you should;

  • Check what waste you produce and assess its properties, determining whether it is hazardous or not. To get help with this consult the Environment Agency's guidance document WM2; and
  • If necessary, conduct characterisation tests to be certain you have correctly classified the waste with the appropriate European Waste Catalogue six digit code. If your waste turns out to be hazardous and needs to be disposed of to landfill, please note that an assessment is essential at an early stage to establish if your waste will meet the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) July 2005.

Duty of care

In order to dispose of hazardous waste you must:

  • Ensure any consignment has the correct documentation, with an accurate description
    including the appropriate six digit European Waste Catalogue code (EWC), and asterisk which denotes that it is hazardous;
  • Ensure that the waste is passed to a registered waste carrier. You can ask to see the carriers' certificate, or contact the Environment Agency to check registration; and
  • Confirm that the receiving site is authorised to accept your waste type

For further information on Duty of care please ring Karraway Limited on 020 8236 0108 or email your questions to info@karraway.co.uk

Furthermore, The Environment Agency has produced a report that outlines the challenges faced in managing hazardous waste, Hazardous waste - a growing challenge.


How to register your company with Enviroment Agency

Please contact us for further details: Karraway Limited. 1 Folly Close, Radlett, Hertfordshire, WD7 8DR
Tel: 020 8236 0108 Fax: 01978 716723 Email: info@karraway.co.uk

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