Waste and recycling

Supporting detail:

Hazardous waste

Hazardous waste, if mismanaged, can cause greater harm to the environment and human health than non-hazardous. Strict controls apply from the point of its production, to its movement, management, and recovery or disposal.

Hazardous waste accounts only for a small percentage of total waste (around 3% in 2008) but the amounts produced are still significant (around 4.8 million tonnes in 2008). We’re working with industry to reduce the amount and level of hazard of this waste.

National policy statement on hazardous waste

New, nationally significant infrastructure for the management of hazardous waste is needed to protect the environment and human health and to allow us to manage hazardous waste in a more sustainable way, recycling and recovering the waste where possible.

The National Policy Statement (NPS) was designated (published as final) by the Secretary of State on 18 July 2013 and sets out Government policy for the hazardous waste infrastructure. The NPS provides a framework for the Secretary of State, but also provides guidance throughout for potential developers and in particular advises on what should be included in their assessment of the potential impacts of a particular project:

Strategy for hazardous waste management in England

The ‘Strategy for hazardous waste management in England’ (2010) sets out the principles for the management of hazardous waste and helps waste producers and managers:

  • make the right decisions about their waste
  • identify the available treatment facilities available

We’ve also published guidance on applying the waste hierarchy to hazardous waste.

To help determine if your waste is hazardous, consult Technical Guidance WM2 document on the Environment Agency’s hazardous waste pages. The Environment Agency also publishes guidance on the hazardous waste regime, including notification (and the on-line notification facility).


The European Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC) was replaced by the revised European Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC).

The directive provides that additional record keeping, monitoring and control obligations from the ‘cradle to the grave’ are required when managing hazardous waste over non-hazardous waste, and that greater attention is required when different categories of hazardous wastes are mixed with each other or with non hazardous wastes.

Permit exemptions that may be granted to installations dealing with hazardous wastes are more restrictive than for installations dealing with other wastes. In the UK, hazardous wastes are covered by:


Further guidance is available on: