Hazardous waste: consignee returns guidance (England)

How to send returns to the Environment Agency and waste producer if you receive or dispose of hazardous waste.

Applies to England

If you receive (or reject) any hazardous waste you must send a report to the Environment Agency. These are known as ‘returns’.

This includes for example, a:

  • service business depot receiving waste produced by its staff at customer premises, such as service engineers maintaining refrigeration units, photocopiers, lifts or forklifts
  • business moving its own waste from one of its premises to another of its premises
  • business accepting waste returned by or from its customers, such as shops or suppliers accepting waste electrical devices or paint from business customers
  • registered exempt or permitted waste facility accepting hazardous waste from others
  • registered exempt or permitted site that rejects a hazardous waste, such as because the site was not permitted to accept it

If you dispose of hazardous waste at the premises where it’s produced you may also need to send returns.

If you do any of these things you are a ‘consignee’.

How to use the spreadsheet tool to send your consignee return

Complete the spreadsheet

To use the spreadsheet you need a Windows operating system and to enable macros in Microsoft Office/Excel.

You must complete the spreadsheet in this order:

1 Click on ‘consignee details’ – you can click the ‘i’ button for guidance

  • enter contact details, and press ‘>’

  • enter site details, and press ‘>’

  • enter billing details and return period, and press ‘save’

  • press ‘exit’ to return to the main menu – this is available on each screen

2 Click on consignment details

  • click ‘add new consignment’ to add details of a consignment
  • note: the producer postcode must be the postcode from part A2, the place where the waste was collected from
  • if there’s more than one type of waste in the consignment, add them by using ‘add new waste’, also use this if a waste will have more than one method of disposal or recovery – you can also use the add new waste details to an existing consignment from the main screen
  • ‘save’, then ‘exit’
  • see guidance on how to complete the return for:
  • once you’ve added all consignments recheck all the information you’ve entered to make sure it’s correct – common errors include:
    • data entered in tonnes instead of kg
    • producer postcode incorrect
  • once you’ve checked the information press ‘validate’ to identify some types of incorrect information – these must be corrected before you send to the Environment Agency
  • click on the ‘main menu’ tab on the bottom left of the page

3 Create the return

It’s an offence to submit incomplete, false or misleading data – you need robust quality control procedures to deliver complete and accurate information.

Copy from your own spreadsheet

If you copy and paste consignment note information from your own records to the Environment Agency returns spreadsheet you must:

  • make sure you use the same order and format
  • use the same units, such as kg
  • ensure there’s no missing data

Use ‘validate’ to spot mistakes

This will help identify data errors made:

  • when entering information on the spreadsheet
  • on consignment notes

Minimise mistakes by having:

  • staff training and quality controls
  • checks at the waste acceptance stage, so you immediately spot consignment note errors and address them with the producer (for parts A, B and D), and the carrier (for part C)

Consignee returns with reduced reporting and charges

For certain waste movements the Environment Agency accepts reduced reporting and charging requirements. This position only applies:

  • to wastes with reduced reporting requirements
  • for the first movement of the hazardous waste from the premises where it is produced to a permitted or exempt consignee
  • where the other requirements of the hazardous waste regulations have been fully complied with, such as use of consignment note
  • where the consignment note coding standard (XXXXXX/YYYYYD) has been used – see the consignment note guidance
  • where any additional conditions set out below are also met

Hazardous waste moved without a consignment note cannot benefit from reduced reporting requirements and charges.

Wastes with reduced reporting requirements


  • 16 05 04* aerosol air fresheners from washrooms
  • 20 01 33* dry cell portable batteries
  • 20 01 21* 16 02 13* 16 02 15* 20 01 35* fluorescent tubes and other lighting equipment
  • 16 06 01* lead acid motor vehicle batteries – applies only to consignment of 5 or fewer batteries
  • 20 01 19* pesticides (municipal) – applies only to the first movement of waste, from the customer premises where the waste was produced
  • 14 06 01* recovered refrigerant gases
  • 18 02 02* 18 02 05* 18 02 07* veterinary waste from farms – applies only to consignments of waste taken from the farm to a veterinary practice for storage pending collection
  • 16 01 04* un-depolluted end of life vehicles – applies only where the first movement is direct to an authorised treatment facility
  • 15 01 10* empty unclean packaging destined for reconditioning, remanufacturing or rebottling under an environmental permit (not exemptions) – for this position, remanufacturing means only processes where the original core components of the packaging are reused
  • any small samples of waste being sent to laboratories for analysis
    • the first movement is the place where the sample was taken or produced
    • applies to samples produced as part of a recognised quality assurance scheme
  • 20 01 35* with 20 01 36 small mixed waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) from domestic households
    • excludes other separately collected WEEE items, such as cathode ray tubes, monitors and flat screen TVs, refrigeration equipment, large domestic appliances, batteries and fluorescent lamps
    • place of production is a household WEEE collection point, such as a civic amenity site, bring bank, or a shop offering in-store take back
    • unsorted loads must be classified as both 20 01 35* and 20 01 36 unless hazardous items and components have been identified and removed

This reduction does not apply to waste from diffuse network infrastructure. See the consignment note guidance for more advice.

How to complete a consignment note return for wastes with reduced reporting requirements

To complete the consignee return for these wastes follow these steps:

1 Produce a new consignment note code using XXXXXX/YYYYYD format, where:

  • XXXXXX/YYYYY is the standard consignment note code format, generated using the consignee site information
  • ‘D’ identifies that you are using reduced reporting requirements

2 Enter that consignment note code in the consignee return and:

  • mark the type of consignment as ‘single’
  • enter date received as the last day of the quarter, in the format DD/MM/YYYY
  • use the postcode for the consignee site

3 Enter the List of Waste code for each waste you received with reduced reporting requirements (for example use 20 01 21* for fluorescent tubes) and then enter the:

  • total quantity (kg) of each List of Waste code received during that quarter
  • recovery or disposal code for the activity you applied to the waste
  • physical form of the waste
  • hazardous properties for the waste – HP1 to HP15 and persistent organic pollutant (POP)

An Environment Agency regulatory position means they will not normally take enforcement action for failure to report these waste movements in full unless:

  • other hazardous waste requirements are not complied with
  • activity has caused, or is likely to cause pollution or harm to health

You cannot reduce your reporting requirement and charges for unconsigned movements of hazardous waste.

Consignments from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Enter consignments from Wales on your return in the same way as those from England.

Consignments from Scotland and Northern Ireland: change the consignment note code

There are 4 differences in how you record the information. You need to:

  • remove the first letter from the code
  • add ‘SC’ for Scotland or ‘NI’ for Northern Ireland at the start of the code if the remaining code is 1 letter and 8 numbers
  • add ‘SC’ for Scotland or ‘NI’ for Northern Ireland at the start of the code, and add ‘0’ (zero) after the third letter if the remaining code is 1 letter and 7 numbers
  • add ‘/’ after the first 6 digits

For example, SA3876543 becomes SCA038/76543.

‘Type of consignment’ must be ‘single’

Multiple collections apply only to England or Wales.

If the consignment was a carrier’s round collecting waste(s) from several producers

Do not enter each individual collection, instead enter the:

  • details of any one producer
  • total quantity of each waste type collected in the round

Sites with 2 or more authorisations

If you receive hazardous waste under 2 or more authorisations (for example 2 or more permits or exemptions) at the same site, you must send a separate return for the waste received under each individual authorisation.

Returns for rejected waste

See the guidance on rejected waste for hazardous waste received with a missing, incomplete or inaccurate consignment note.

You must report rejected waste on your quarterly return – even if your site has no permit to accept that hazardous waste type.

There are no fees for rejected wastes you report.

For rejected waste with a consignment note (where the consignment note number is correct):

  • at ‘mode of disposal’ enter ‘REJ’
  • enter all other details (including quantity) as if you accepted the waste

For rejected waste with no consignment note (or a missing or incorrect consignment note number):

  • use the REJECT/YYYYY code and other information from the record you created when you rejected the waste
  • at ‘mode of disposal’ enter ‘REJ’

If you rejected but afterwards accepted it, enter 2 returns, one for the:

  • rejected load, using the rejected consignment note code
  • accepted load, using the code and other required information from the new consignment note – the new note will have the correct classification and description and the relevant recovery or disposal code in the ‘mode of disposal’ field

See more information in the rejected loads guidance.

There is a charge for the accepted load.

If you rejected a waste because it was misclassified or wrongly described as hazardous waste, but subsequently accepted it as non-hazardous, you only need report the rejected ‘hazardous’ load.

Consignment note errors

Your return must have complete and accurate information.

You must ensure that:

  • your waste acceptance procedures identify incomplete or inaccurate consignment notes
  • you follow rejected load rules – see the rejected loads guidance

If you identify the error after you accept the waste (after signing part E of the note) in the return, you must:

  • enter the original incorrect information against the relevant consignment note number
  • enter the corrected information against a new consignment note number (as if it were a rejected load) – the new number is the original number with an ‘R’ added at the end, like XXXXXX/YYYYYR

You must keep an additional record in your register of what:

  • information was wrong on the original note
  • you did to identify the correct information and prevent the error recurring with respect to the producer, holder, carrier or consignor
  • action you’ve taken to improve your waste acceptance

Mistakes and omissions on returns

If your return has wrong information, or you’ve not included one or more consignments, you must:

Self disposal returns

If you dispose of your own hazardous waste by depositing it on the site where it was produced, you must send a consignee return providing details of this.

This applies to activities:

  • D01: putting the waste into or onto land
  • D02: land treatment
  • D03: deep injection
  • D04: surface impoundment
  • D05: putting the waste into a special landfill designed for that waste
  • D06: releasing waste into a lake or river
  • D12: permanently storing the waste

You do not need to provide a return to the Environment Agency for temporary storage at the premises of production that meets the conditions of that exemption.

To record self disposal waste on a consignee return, you first need to create a consignment note code in the format XXXXXX/YYYYYS, where:

  • XXXXXX/YYYYY is the standard consignment note code format for that premises – see consignment note guidance
  • ‘S’ identifies that you are making a self disposal return

Then enter this consignment on your returns spreadsheet by:

  • clicking ‘single’ at ‘type of consignment’
  • entering the last day of the quarter period where it says ‘date received’
  • at ‘quantity (kilograms)’, entering the total quantity of each waste you disposed of at your site during the quarter
  • completing all other information as you would for a regular consignment return

Other ways to send your return


Send your XML return to the Environment Agency by email at Do not use this email address for enquiries. If you need help to create an XML return, telephone 03708 506 506 (call charges).

By post

You can get a paper form and guidance from the Environment Agency – call 03708 506 506 (call charges). Charges for paper returns are higher than for electronic returns. See the fees for submitting consignee returns.

Producer or holder returns

The consignee must send a return to the producer or holder of the waste entered on the consignment note. If:

  • the producer is entered in part A4, you must send a return to them
  • no producer is entered in part A4, you must send a return to the business entered in part A2
  • the consignor is not the producer or holder, you must also send them a return

The return tells them what happened to their waste.

You can create a return in one of two ways:

  1. Use the format set out in the regulations.
  2. Send both a copy of the fully completed consignment note and a description or confirmation of the disposal or recovery method for each waste on the consignment – required because part E of the note is completed when the waste is received before the operation starts.

Where the producer or holder and consignee are part of the same organisation, a return must still be sent and held in the producer or holder register.

Consignee details: format set out in the regulations

Name of consignee Postcode Consignee hazardous waste id code Date(a)
Consignment note number Date received Mode of transport Frequency of collection (b) EWC code(s) (c) Hazard code(s) (d) Physical form (e) Quantity (kg) Mode of disposal (f)

(a) date of submission of the return by the consignee

(b) where relevant

(c) there may be more than one waste stream for each consignment note. All relevant EWC (List of Waste codes) must be recorded

(d) hazard code: each individual EWC code may have more than one hazard. Each appropriate hazard for a particular EWC code must be entered. Choose all of the appropriate hazards for a particular waste. You must record the code POP if a waste contains a substance listed in Annex 4 of the POPs recast regulation.

These are the hazard codes and their descriptions:

  • HP 1 – explosive
  • HP 2 – oxidising
  • HP 3 – flammable
  • HP 4 - irritant – skin irritation and eye damage
  • HP 5 – specific target organ toxicity or aspiration toxicity
  • HP 6 – acute toxicity
  • HP 7 – carcinogenic
  • HP 8 – corrosive
  • HP 9 – infectious
  • HP 10 – toxic for reproduction
  • HP 11 – mutagenic
  • HP 12 – release of an acute toxic gas
  • HP 13 – sensitising
  • HP 14 – ecotoxic
  • HP 15 – waste capable of exerting a hazardous property listed above not directly displayed by the original waste
  • POP – persistent organic pollutant

(e) physical form (gas, liquid, mixed, powder, sludge or solid)

(f) mode of disposal/recovery or rejected: use the appropriate D or R code for the operation performed on the waste or insert REJ if the waste has been rejected. See the list of D and R codes in Annexes 1 and 2 of the Directive of the waste and repealing certain Directives.

Published 4 April 2014
Last updated 9 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated ‘Consignee details’ to account for the need to reference Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) if they’re present above thresholds. Schedule 8 in the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 has been amended by the POPs Regulations 2019.

  2. We have clarified ‘producer or holder returns’ and added new guidance for returns from sites with two or more authorisations.

  3. Added clarification on how to record consignments from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  4. Removed out of date guidance following implementation of new hazardous waste regulations.

  5. From 1 April 2016, premises will no longer need to register as hazardous waste producers. This change will affect the entire hazardous waste control system. See the guidance effective from 1 April 2016. Or use the current guidance that applies until 31 March 2016.

  6. This guidance has been amended to incorporate regulatory position statement 135: Consignee returns: relaxation of reporting requirements for specified hazardous wastes.

  7. Confirmation email address under section ‘Mistakes and omissions on returns’ changed to

  8. First published.