You must identify and classify your waste before you send it for recycling or disposal. This makes sure you or anyone handling your waste deals with it properly.
There are special rules for dealing with hazardous waste or disposing of waste with a high level of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), (known as ‘POPs waste’).
Filling in waste transfer or consignment notes
You must describe your waste in the paperwork you give your waste contractor. This must include:
- the waste classification code, also referred to as LoW (List of Waste) or EWC (European Waste Catalogue) code - classification codes for common types of waste are in the relevant parts of this guidance
- whether it’s hazardous or POPs waste
- the type of premises or business where the waste was produced
- the name of the substance or substances
- the process that produced the waste
- a chemical and physical analysis of the waste and its components
- any special problems, requirements or knowledge related to the waste
If you cannot find a code for your waste
Check the technical guidance on waste, it includes more information about waste classification and assessing waste.
You must not use landfill waste acceptance criteria (WAC) results for waste classification purposes.
How to find out if your waste is hazardous or POPs waste
In most cases you can check the waste code or codes associated with your waste to see if they are hazardous and POPs waste. You must make sure your waste contractor can dispose of this waste properly.
Some waste items have more than one classification, depending on the possible mix of substances in them.
In these cases you must work out exactly what is in your waste, and how much of it is hazardous or POPs.
Check the manufacturers’ product safety data sheets for this information or carry out an assessment.
Many products include orange and black danger symbols or red and white hazard pictograms to indicate they’re hazardous.
Some products (for example cosmetics and medicines) are not normally labelled with hazard symbols - check the product’s safety data sheet.
It’s illegal to mix hazardous or POPs waste with either non-hazardous or another hazardous waste.
You will usually need more than one code if you store more than one type of non-hazardous waste in your container.
If you need more help
Get advice from a specialist waste contractor if you’re not sure whether it’s hazardous or not.
For more information, contact the Environment Agency.