Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste chemicals and chemical containers

Waste chemicals and chemical containers

You should manage your chemicals carefully to reduce the amount of chemical waste you produce. Reuse or recycle chemicals and chemical containers wherever possible.

Dispose of your chemical waste responsibly

You must check that anyone that you pass your waste to is authorised to take it. If you don't check and they dispose of it illegally, you could be held responsible. This is known as your duty of care.

Duty of care – your waste responsibilities

Find your nearest waste site

If you produce waste that may be harmful to human health or the environment, you will need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

Dispose of chemical containers

Your supplier may take back chemical containers to reuse or recycle them. You may have to triple rinse containers first. You must have permission from your water company before you dispose of rinse water to the foul sewer. If you rinse out pesticide containers you can add the rinse water to the spray tank.

Northern Ireland: Find water and sewerage operators on Water UK website

Scotland: Scotland on Tap

If the container that you are rinsing out contained a hazardous chemical, the rinse water is also likely to be hazardous and you must dispose of it as hazardous waste.

Recover chemicals from waste

If you recover any chemicals from waste, the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation is likely to apply to you.

Recovering chemical substances from waste

Reduce, reuse and recycle chemical waste

Reduce your chemical waste - only buy the amount of a chemical that you need. Use an inventory to help you manage your chemicals.

Keep an inventory of the chemicals you have on site. This should include details of when you received them and when you should dispose of them if you don't use them up. This will help you to avoid having more chemicals than you need.

Reuse or recycle packaging from chemical deliveries, such as:

  • cardboard
  • wooden pallets
  • polystyrene loose fill packaging
  • vermiculite
  • plastic bags.

Check with your supplier to see if you can reuse your chemical containers - they may be able to refill containers with the same chemical. Some waste recovery businesses offer cleaning services so that you can reuse chemical containers.

You may be able to recycle waste metal or plastic drums if they contained non-hazardous chemicals. Ask your waste site if they offer a recycling service.

Store and transport waste chemicals safely

Store and transport all waste chemicals in suitable, sealed containers such as drums.
Store and transport waste chemical containers and other packaging in covered containers, such as drums, cages or covered skips.

If you transport dangerous waste you must meet further requirements for packaging, labelling and documentation.

Northern Ireland: HSENI – Carriage of dangerous goods

Scotland: HSE - Carriage of dangerous goods

Further information

Find your nearest waste site

Return to Chemical Storage home page

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