T13 waste exemption: treating waste food

The T13 exemption allows you to recover waste food by decanting or unwrapping it and recovering the packaging.

Applies to England

Types of activity you can carry out

These include:

  • unwrapping waste food from a supermarket that is past its sell-by date so it can be composted or put through a digestion process
  • bulking up waste food or packaging to reduce transportation costs

Types of activity you cannot carry out

You cannot:

  • store or treat waste covered by the Animal By-Products Regulations that are going to be fed to animals
  • treat the waste food further, for example by composting under this exemption (see related exemptions)

Types of waste you can treat

The waste codes are 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
020304, 020501, 020601, 020704 Materials unsuitable for consumption
200199 Non liquid foods unsuitable for consumption or processing

Amount of waste you can treat

You can store or treat up to 30 tonnes of waste at any one time.

Key conditions

You can treat the waste, including the packaging, by:

  • decanting
  • unwrapping
  • bulking up
  • sorting

No waste must be stored for longer than 7 days.

The treatment and storage must take place indoors, and in a secure place.

Other things you need to know

You should take measures to reduce odours by making sure that waste food is treated and moved on to be reused or recovered as soon as possible.

You also need to comply with other legislation, particularly The Animal By-Products Regulations.

Related exemptions

T23 – aerobic composting and associated prior treatment.

T25 – anaerobic digestion at premises not used for agriculture and burning the resultant biogas.

Register a T13 exemption

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


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

Secure – a container, lagoon or other place is secure in relation to waste kept in it if:

  • all reasonable precautions are taken to make sure the waste cannot escape
  • members of the public cannot gain access to the waste
Published 28 April 2014