T1 waste exemption: cleaning, washing, spraying or coating relevant waste

The T1 waste exemption allows you to treat waste packaging so it can be reused in its original form or becomes clean waste suitable for recycling.

Applies to England

Types of activity you can carry out

These include:

  • washing waste plastic drums so that they can be reused or sold for reuse
  • cleaning waste plastic or glass to allow it to be recycled

Types of activity you cannot carry out

You cannot:

Types of waste you can treat

The waste codes are those listed in the List of Wastes (LoW) Regulations. You need to make sure your waste fits within the relevant waste code and description.

Waste code Type of waste
150105 Composite packaging
150107, 160120, 170202, 191205, 200102 Glass
150101 Paper and cardboard packaging
020104, 070213, 150102, 160119, 170203, 200139 Plastic, including plastic packaging from agriculture
150109 Textile packaging

Amount of waste you can treat or store

You can:

  • treat up to 300 tonnes of waste over any 7-day period
  • store up to 300 tonnes of waste at any one time
  • store waste for up to 3 months before it is treated

Where containers have stored a dangerous substance:

  • one tonne of waste is the maximum amount you can store over any 7-day period
  • the waste must not be contaminated by more than 1% of its original volume before it is treated

You must:

  • store and treat waste in a location with sealed drainage
  • have the correct consent before you discharge dirty water from washing waste to surface water, groundwater or sewer

Find out more about environmental permits for discharges to surface waters and groundwater activities.

For consent to discharge to a sewer you need to contact your local water company.

Related exemptions

To bale or shred suitable waste after cleaning you must register exemption T4 preparatory treatments, such as, baling, sorting, shredding.

Register an exemption

You need to register this exemption with the Environment Agency if you meet the requirements.

If you are coating packaging you should contact your local authority to find out if you need an environmental permit under Part B of Section 6.4 (Coating activities and printing) of Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.


Dangerous substance – see regulation 2(1) of the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009.

Discharge consent – a consent issued under Chapter 2 of Part 3 of the Water Resources Act 1991 or regulation 13 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Hazardous waste – see How to classify different types of waste.

Sealed drainage – a drainage system with an impermeable surface that ensures:

  • no liquid will run off the surface apart from via the system
  • all liquids entering the system are collected in a sealed sump except where they may be lawfully discharged

Updates to this page

Published 18 September 2019

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