Guidance

Turn your waste into a new non-waste product or material

Find out when your material achieves end of waste so you can create new products and know waste controls no longer apply.

Work out if your waste material complies with a European Union (EU) end of waste regulation or meets the end of waste test through a quality protocol or an individual assessment.

EU end of waste regulations

You will need check whether your waste derived product needs to meet the requirements of an EU End of Waste Regulation. There are regulations for each of the following waste types:

These are part of retained EU law after Brexit.

If the EU Regulation requirements cannot be met, then it remains waste. If you can meet them, end of waste is achieved.

Meet the end of waste test

If no EU End of Waste Regulation or quality protocol applies to your waste derived product, you need to carry out an end of waste assessment on the basis of the conditions in article 6(1) and the relevant criteria of article 6(2) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008. You must take account of guidance published by the appropriate authority or agency when you decide if a substance or object has ceased to be waste, for the purposes of article 6.

The wording of the directive and the approach we must take to it are summarised in the guidance Definition of waste: 2018 Waste Framework Directive amendments.

Quality protocols

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are several quality protocols available. They are voluntary end of waste frameworks for specific wastes and end uses based on the relevant end of waste case law.

Check if a quality protocol applies to your operation. What you are doing to your waste must meet the requirements set out in the relevant quality protocol to demonstrate end of waste.

Generally quality protocols:

  • ensure the product made from waste does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment
  • increase market confidence in the quality of products made from waste and their potential value
  • encourage greater waste recycling and recovery

For guidance on assessing whether excavated materials are classified as waste or not, or when developing or remediating land, you can use the Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice.

If your waste derived product does not meet the requirements in the relevant quality protocol or meet the end of waste test, it will still be waste so you must comply with waste management controls. If you do not comply you could be committing an offence and face a penalty.

If there is no applicable quality protocol, you will need to assess whether your waste derived product meets end of waste on a case by case basis. The product must meet the conditions in article 6(1) and the relevant criteria of article 6(2) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008 to be considered end of waste.

Definition of waste assessment

Definition of waste (DoW) service suspended

The DoW service will remain closed until 1 September while we finalise changes. This includes providing a new submission form and form guidance, developing a new pre-submission service and changing internal processes to improve service delivery. This is in response to customer feedback.

Businesses can continue to self-assess ‘end of waste’ and ‘by-product’ status of materials using the existing Defra guidance. See Part 2 of the Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application which includes a guide on how to assess whether materials are likely to be waste or not.

If you have a question about the DoW service suspension email dowservices@environment-agency.gov.uk.

End of waste: more information

Published 18 March 2014
Last updated 20 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. The DoW service will remain closed until 1 September while we finalise changes. This includes providing a new submission form and form guidance, developing a new pre-submission service and changing internal processes to improve service delivery. This is in response to customer feedback. Businesses can continue to self-assess ‘end of waste’ and ‘by-product’ status of materials using the existing Defra guidance. See Part 2 of the Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application which includes a guide on how to assess whether materials are likely to be waste or not. If you have a question about the DoW service suspension email dowservices@environment-agency.gov.uk.

  2. The Definition of Waste Service will remain closed until July 2021. You will not be able to submit a request to the Environment Agency for an opinion on the waste status of your material until this service re-opens. Also, we are decommissioning the IsItWaste tool on 31 March. This is because the IT system that the tool is built on is no longer supported. Businesses can continue to self-assess ‘end of waste’ and ‘by-product’ status of materials after 31 March using the existing Defra guidance. See Part 2 of the Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application which includes a guide on how to assess whether materials are likely to be waste or not. During the suspension we are reviewing the Definition of Waste Service, developing a new application process and drafting new guidance. If you have a question about the DoW Service suspension or the IsItWaste tool decommissioning email dowservices@environment-agency.gov.uk.

  3. The Definition of Waste Service will remain closed until at least April 2021. You will not be able to submit a request to the Environment Agency for an opinion on the waste status of your material until this service re-opens. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We will review the closure again in April.

  4. Edited the 'Meet the end of waste test' section to indicate when you should make an end of waste assessment based on articles 6(1) and 6(2) of the Waste Framework Directive 2018 (as amended).

  5. The Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste Service has been temporarily suspended to new customers and new submissions until at least 1 January 2021. This means you cannot submit a request to us for an opinion on the waste status of your material.

  6. We have removed the section about the quality protocol (QP) checker. The QP checker tool is no longer in use.

  7. We have updated information on how to use the Definition of Waste Service to get an Environment Agency opinion on the waste status of your material.

  8. New information on the Definition of Waste Service and charges for the service.

  9. The Environment Agency's Definition of Waste Panel is temporarily closed to new submissions while we review the service.

  10. The Definition of Waste Panel is temporarily closed and isn't receiving any new Definition of Waste submissions. The closure will be reviewed in November 2016. You can still undertake self assessment during this time using the IsItWaste tool.

  11. Additional content added to clarify the meaning of 'waste has been converted into a distinct and marketable product'.

  12. Added link to new IsItWaste tool to find out if your material or product is end of waste.

  13. Use the IsItWaste tool to work out if your waste derived material is a non-waste by-product, has achieved end of waste or is still a waste.

  14. First published.