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Hazardous Waste 

DO THE RIGHT THING - A short introduction for producers of hazardous waste in England

Many common products contain some hazardous materials.  This can mean that when they are disposed of they are classed as hazardous waste, for which special rules apply. This note is to help you decide whether any waste you produce falls into that category and if so what you should do about it.

Doing the right thing with hazardous waste is very important: it protects human health and the environment, prevents criminal activity, and helps responsible waste managers to do their job. It is your responsibility to deal with your hazardous waste correctly and to ensure that you pass it on to a qualified and reputable waste manager for proper treatment.

This note points the way to information about the rules which apply in England. The position in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland may be slightly different – see below:

What is hazardous waste, and do you produce it?

Examples of hazardous wastes include:

  • asbestos, 
  • chemicals, 
  • waste electrical equipment, 
  • batteries, waste oils, 
  • some soils, 
  • fluorescent tubes, 
  • some packaging waste,  
  • some clinical or healthcare waste.

If you are not sure, there is plenty of information available - see Gov.uk - How to classify different types of waste .

The industry has also produced a 'Misclassification Guide'.

Produced by The Waste Classification Group – made up of industry experts nominated by the ESA and by CIWM, along with officials from the Environment Agency - some of the most common errors and misconceptions are detailed in this pull-out guide.  The guide also includes details of the correct actions to take, but this is just an introduction to the issues surrounding the misclassification and coding of waste.

While it stays your responsibility, your waste management contractor may also be able to help you (see 'Duty of Care' section).