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 an European Union (EU) end of waste regulation or meets the end of waste test through a quality protocol(QP) or an individual assessment.

EU end of waste regulations

Your first step is to check whether your waste derived product needs to meet the requirements of an EU End of Waste Regulation. There is a regulation for the following waste types:

  • iron, steel and aluminium scrap
  • glass cullet
  • copper scrap

Find the EU End of Waste Regulations on the European Commission website.

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 applies to your waste derived product, you need to make an end of waste assessment on the basis of the relevant case law on end of waste. The Court of Appeal OSS end of waste test generally represents all the case law requirements for the end of waste test.

This test assesses whether:

  • the waste has been converted into a distinct and marketable product, this means:

    • the waste has been turned into a completely new product, for example a playground surface is produced from waste tyres
    • the new product is different from the original waste (minor changes to its composition may not be sufficient), for example non packaging plastic recycled material is processed to make new plastic products
    • there is a genuine market for the material so it will definitely be used – if its stored indefinitely with little prospect for use the material remains waste
  • the processed substance can be used in exactly the same way as a non-waste
  • the processed substance can be stored and used with no worse environmental effects when compared to the material it is intended to replace

Quality protocols

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are several QPs 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 QP applies to your operation. What you are doing to your waste must meet the requirements set out in the relevant QP to demonstrate end of waste.

Generally QPs:

  • 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 The Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice.

If your waste derived product does not meet the requirements in the relevant QP 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 QP, you will need to assess whether your waste derived product meets end of waste on a case by case basis using the OSS test.

Use the QP checker

Use the QP checker online tool to check if your waste derived aggregate or compost is compliant with a QP and is no longer waste.

Definition of waste assessment

The Environment Agency plans to open its Definition of Waste Service from June 2018.

In England, if you produce a product from waste you will be able to ask for our opinion on the waste status of your material.

Before the service is available you can do a self assessment. You can do both of the following:

There is no charge to do a self assessment.

The IsItWaste tool and the checklist set out the minimum information you will need to begin a definition of waste assessment.

Once the service is available you will need to:

  • provide all the required information
  • pay an interim charge of £750
  • submit your proposal

We will then:

  • check you have provided the right information and in the correct format
  • provide a cost estimate to do the full assessment – this will be based on £125 per hour plus VAT

Once you have signed the charging agreement we will do the assessment and give you our opinion on the waste status of your material. We may need to ask for more information to complete the assessment.

If you are operating in other parts of the UK, contact your environmental regulator to find out what services they provide.

If your material is no longer waste, you will also need to comply with all relevant product legislation, for example the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) regulations or groundwater authorisations.

End of waste: more information

Published 18 March 2014
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. New information on the Definition of Waste Service and charges for the service.
  2. The Environment Agency's Definition of Waste Panel is temporarily closed to new submissions while we review the service.
  3. 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.
  4. Additional content added to clarify the meaning of 'waste has been converted into a distinct and marketable product'.
  5. Added link to new IsItWaste tool to find out if your material or product is end of waste.
  6. 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.
  7. First published.