Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More waste materials (E-W)

More waste materials guidance in alphabetical order from E to W

Additional resources

  

What you must do

Material that you remove from an excavation will not normally be regarded as waste if:

  • you intend to reuse it on your site
  • it is suitable for use as backfill
  • it does not need to be processed before it can be reused.

In such cases the material would not be subject, at that point in time, to:

  • the duty of care for waste
  • waste management licensing
  • pollution prevention and control (PPC) regime.

If the material you excavate is only fit for use if it is encapsulated, it is likely that this will be regarded as a landfilling activity and may require a permit.

Diluting or mixing contaminated material with non-contaminated material on site is not permitted. If in doubt, you should consult with your local environmental regulator.

Resource Efficient Scotland: Construction materials exchange

WRAPNI: Industrial Symbiosis (NISP Network)

Further information

Hazardous / special waste

NIEA: Construction and Demolition Waste and Recycled Concrete

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

Pollution prevention and control permits

Waste management licences

Managing extractive waste

Your mine or quarry could cause serious damage to the environment and human health if you do not manage your extractive waste properly.

The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) introduced new requirements for managing extractive waste at mines and quarries.

Regulations implementing the MWD in Northern Ireland and Scotland came into force on 1 April 2010. The MWD has been brought into force through the planning system.

Do you have extractive waste at your mine or quarry?

Extractive waste is solid or liquid waste that comes directly from onshore prospecting, extracting, treating and storing minerals and the working of quarries, including:

  • waste rock and overburden removed during extraction
  • tailings, such as waste solids and slurries
  • inert waste and unpolluted soil
  • waste from the peat industry.

Not all material you produce during mineral extraction is waste.

If you do have extractive waste, your obligations will depend on whether your extractive waste is:

  • inert waste
  • non-hazardous non-inert waste
  • hazardous waste.

What you must do if you have an extractive waste site or extractive waste area

An extractive waste site (Northern Ireland) or extractive waste area (Scotland) is any area where you accumulate or deposit extractive waste, including any dam, heap or pond for:

  • six months or less for hazardous waste you generate unexpectedly
  • one year or less for non-hazardous non-inert waste
  • three years or less for inert waste, unpolluted soil, non hazardous prospecting waste and waste from the peat industry.

It does not include any area which is a waste facility. In Northern Ireland, it does not include excavation voids into which waste is replaced, after extraction of the mineral, for rehabilitation and construction purposes.

Apply for planning permission

If you start or continue to operate an extractive waste site (Northern Ireland) or extractive waste area (Scotland) you must have a valid planning permission from your planning authority.

If you produce extractive waste your planning permission will require you to have a waste management plan (WMP). For information on what your WMP must cover, see our guidance on waste management plans.

In Northern Ireland, if an exemption applies to your mine or quarry or your mine or quarry does not produce extractive waste you do not need a WMP but will need to submit a waste management statement to confirm this. For example, an inert waste site may be exempt from the requirement to produce a WMP.

In Scotland, if your extractive waste area was in operation on 1 April 2010 you must have produced a WMP by 1 May 2012 to continue your operations.

Comply with your planning permission

Your planning permission will have conditions which, amongst other things, require you to:

  • comply with your WMP
  • keep up to date records to show that you are complying with your permit and are made available for inspection on request.

Your extractive waste must not:

  • endanger human health
  • harm the environment
  • cause a nuisance from noise or odour at your site
  • affect the landscape or places of special interest near your site.

You must use best available techniques for managing your extractive waste to prevent or reduce damage to your local environment or human health.

What you must do if your mine or quarry has a waste facility

Your mine or quarry has a waste facility if you deposit or accumulate extractive waste at your site:

  • in a Category A (high risk) facility or hazardous waste facility identified in your waste management plan for any period of time
  • for more than six months for hazardous waste you produce unexpectedly
  • for more than one year for non-hazardous non-inert waste
  • for more than three years for inert waste, unpolluted soil, non-hazardous prospecting waste and waste from the peat industry.

Waste facilities at mines or quarries include spoil heaps, tailings, ponds and dams. They do not include voids that have been filled with extractive waste after extraction. For further information on voids, see our guidance on extraction voids.

Apply for planning permission

If you start or continue to operate a waste facility you must have a valid planning permission from your planning authority. Your planning permission will include conditions for managing extractive waste and will require you to have a WMP. For information on what your WMP must cover, see our guidance on waste management plans.

You must also comply with special requirements to prevent major accidents at your site if you have a Category A (high risk) facility. See our guidance on preventing major accidents at Category A facilities.

In Northern Ireland, if you had a valid planning permission for your waste facility on or before 1 April 2010 it is now deemed to include permission for that facility where you have submitted a WMP and that plan has been approved by your planning authority. If you have a Category A facility you must also comply with special requirements to prevent major accidents at your site and arrange for a financial guarantee to be in place for your waste facility by 1 May 2014.

In Scotland, if your mining waste facility was in operation on 1 April 2010 you must have obtained planning permission to continue your operations beyond 1 May 2012. You must also arrange for a financial guarantee to be in place for your waste facility by 1 May 2014. You can use an industry sponsored mutual guarantee fund to provide your financial guarantee.

Comply with planning conditions

You must comply with any conditions in your planning permission about extractive waste or the location, size and shape of spoil heaps and tailings ponds.

Contact your planning authority for further information.

What you must do if you have a Category A or hazardous waste facility

Your mining waste facility is classified as Category A (high risk) facility if:

  • a failure in the structure of a mining waste facility or an incorrect operation at a mining waste facility could cause a major accident, eg where a tip or settlement pond could collapse, or
  • it contains hazardous waste above a certain threshold, or
  • it contains dangerous substances above a certain threshold.

For further information, see the European Community decision on the definition of Category A waste facilities.

European Community: EC Decision 2009/337/EC Definition of the criteria for the classification of Category A waste facilities (Adobe PDF - 730 KB)

Comply with additional requirements

You must have valid planning permission and comply with additional requirements if you have a Category A or hazardous waste facility. For example, if you have a Category < A facility you must comply with requirements to prevent major accidents at your site. See our guidance on preventing major accidents at Category A facilities.

Good practice for managing extractive waste

Position stockpiles on surfaces that have low permeability.

Collect run-off from your extractive waste and treat it prior to discharge. For further information, see our guidance on managing solids.

Compact your extractive waste and check it is physically stable if you put it in an extraction void. For further information, see our guidance on extraction voids.

Design your mining waste facility to prevent pollution and erosion. For example:

  • use hard surfaces or linings to prevent dangerous substances from seeping into the ground
  • use gentle slopes and plant vegetation on heaps and mounds
  • position your mining waste facility away from any areas that could flood.

Comply with the tipping rules to make sure your mining waste facility is stable. For further information on the tipping rules, contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

HSE: Mining
HSE: Quarries
HSE Northern Ireland: Quarries and mines

Further information on extractive waste in Northern Ireland and Scotland

EU

European Community: EC Decision 2009/359/EC Completing the definition of inert waste (Adobe PDF - 698KB)
European Community: EC Decision 2009/360/EC Completing the technical requirements for waste characterisation (Adobe PDF - 709KB)
EU: BREF document on best available techniques for management of tailings and waste rock in mining activities

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland DOE Planning: Mining Waste Directive
Northern Ireland DOE Planning: Mining waste management plans

Scotland

Scottish Government: Guidance on the management of extractive waste regulations (Scotland) 2010 (PDF 426 KB)

Scottish Government: Planning system - minerals

Fly-tipping is illegally dumping waste.

People convicted of fly-tipping offences can:

  • receive substantial fines
  • receive prison sentences of up to five years
  • be made to pay the costs of enforcement, investigation and clean-up
  • be made to give up any vehicles used to carry out fly-tipping.

What you must do

You are responsible for the disposal of any material that is fly-tipped on your land. You have a legal duty of care to ensure that the waste is disposed of or recycled at an authorised facility.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you arrange for the waste to be removed, you must check that the person who removes the fly-tipped waste is a registered waste carrier.

You must complete a waste transfer note before you pass your waste on to someone else, or a consignment note if the waste is hazardous/special waste. You and the waste carrier must both sign the note.

Hazardous/special waste

Good practice

If you discover fly-tipped material on your land, report it:

Do not touch the fly-tipped waste:

  • It may not be safe, as the waste can include substances or objects that could pose a risk to you, like toxic materials or sharp objects. Do not open bags or drums. Piles of soil may be contaminated or hide dangerous material.
  • You could disturb the site, where there may be evidence to assist in the investigation.

If you see anyone fly-tipping waste, take details of their vehicle, including its registration. Be discreet - remember that fly-tippers are doing something illegal and so they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs.

Before you arrange to dispose of the fly-tipped waste from your land, check with your local council or your environmental regulator that they have all the evidence they need for any investigation.

Tips for preventing fly-tipping

Work out why your land is being targeted. You can then make your property less vulnerable.

Install gates and barriers to prevent access. These can be in keeping with the natural environment, eg boulders. Make sure that you do not block a public right of way.

Close gates when not in use and lock them if possible.

Improve visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view. Clear small areas of land or landscaping to reduce hidden corners.

Install or improve lighting.

Further information

Northern Ireland: Fly-tipping

Scotland: Fly-tipping

NIEA: Construction and Demolition Waste and Recycled Concrete

Your office may produce food waste from restaurants, canteens, kitchens, self-catering facilities, or outside caterers supplying buffets. This could include waste snacks or food brought in by staff from home.

Your food waste is likely to contain raw, cooked or processed meat and fish, dairy products or bakery products containing meat or fish which are animal by-products. Food waste which contains animal by-products is termed catering waste and you will need to make sure you dispose of your catering waste appropriately.

Reducing the amount of edible food you waste will save you money and help reduce climate change and improve our environment.

Throwing good food away is a waste of resources as all the energy, water and packaging used to produce, transport and store it goes to waste. In landfill, food waste creates methane and carbon dioxide - significant greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

What you must do

Comply with your duty of care

You must ensure that you comply with your waste responsibilities. These will apply however you dispose of your catering waste.

You must make sure that catering waste is collected and transported by a registered waste carrier who will dispose of it legally.

From 1 January 2014 new regulations now affect food businesses in Scotland. Large producers of food waste (more than 50 Kg per week) have to segregate food waste for separate collection. Businesses that produce more than 5Kg of food waste per week will have to segregate food waste from 1 Jan 2016. There are special arrangements for businesses in rural areas.

Zero Waste Scotland: The Waste (Scotland) Regulations FAQs

Your office waste responsibilities

Scottish Government: Duty of care: A code of practice

SEPA Guidance: Food waste management in Scotland

New duties for food businesses in Northern Ireland

If you are a food business and produce more than 5kg of food waste per week (roughly one kitchen caddy full) you will be required to separate that food waste from the rest of your waste for separate collection. This applies to large producers (>50kg) from 1 April 2016 and to small producers (>5kg) from 1 April 2017.

NIEA: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

NIEA: Regulatory position statement – Food Waste Guidance

DAERA: Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

Dispose of catering waste

You must dispose of your catering waste correctly.

You can dispose of your catering waste to a licensed landfill.

Other disposal options, which must be approved under the Animal By-Products Regulation, are becoming more common including:

  • approved biogas or composting plants
  • approved incinerators and rendering plants.

You must check that any premises you send your catering waste to is approved under the Animal By-Products Regulation and has an appropriate permit or licence from their environmental regulator.

Scottish Government: List of approved premises

DAERA approved premises        

Contact your environmental regulator

You can no longer feed catering waste, including used cooking oil, to animals. If you don't check and keep proof that the premises you send your catering waste to is registered, and the waste is used for animal feed, you could be prosecuted.

Animal and Plant Health Agency: Illegal feeding

 DAERA: Products of animal origin in farm animal feed

Compost your catering waste

If you wish to produce compost yourself from your catering waste you must meet a number of conditions. You must:

  • only produce the compost at the premises where the catering waste is produced
  • apply the compost only on the grounds of premises where is it produced
  • not keep livestock on the premises.

If you do not meet these conditions you will need an authorisation under the Animal By-Products Regulations to compost on your premises, from:

  • your local Animal Health Divisional Office (AHDO) in Scotland
  • the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARDNI) in Northern Ireland.

Animal and Plant Health Agency in Scotland

DAERA: Guidance on composting animal by-products and catering wastes (Northern Ireland)

If you make compost from your catering waste at your premises you must have registered an exemption with your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

For more information read our guidance on waste exemptions at offices.

Used cooking oil

You must not dispose of used cooking oil with the rest of your catering waste or down surface water or foul drains.

Landfills cannot accept liquid waste so you should collect your used cooking oil and store it in suitable containers. Containers should be stored in a secure area, away from drains to prevent spills and leakages.

Oil storage

You should not pour used cooking oil and fats down kitchen drains or sewers as it can:

  • cause blockages leading to flooding of your or local drainage systems
  • cause odours and attract vermin which might be a nuisance to your neighbours
  • pollute watercourses or cause serious problems if it reaches a wastewater treatment plant.

You can install fat traps or oil interceptors in your drainage system which will reduce the chances of blockage.

Water UK: Disposal of fats, oils, grease and food waste - Best management practice for catering outlets (Adobe PDF - 516KB)

All used cooking oil must be removed by an authorised waste carrier for recovery or disposal. Most used cooking oil is used to make biodiesel or incinerated to generate electricity.

You can treat your used cooking oil to produce biodiesel for your vehicles. Depending on the quantity produced you may require an appropriate permit or licence from your environmental regulator.

For further information see our Biofuel for transport guidance.

Good practice

Do not use a macerator for food waste disposal. The water industry opposes the use of food waste macerators because of the potential for blockages.

Water UK: Macerators - the impact on sewers

Further information on catering waste

Animal by-products

Food Standards Agency: Waste cooking

Health and Safety Executive: Catering and hospitality

Scottish Water: Commercial kitchens clean environment guide

Forestry operations can produce a number of different waste materials. These can include:

  • unused fertilisers and pesticides
  • empty fertiliser and pesticide containers
  • used oils and hydraulic fluid
  • empty fuel containers
  • used spill kits
  • firefighting waste.

Forestry operations can also produce large quantities of brash, wood chip and bark. If you use them for a specific purpose, such as energy production, then they are not classified as waste.

SEPA: The management of forestry waste

Agricultural waste is subject to waste management licensing requirements. The law considers tree nurseries and Christmas tree production to be agricultural activities. You may need a waste management licence or registered exemption to carry out waste operations or activities.

What you must do

Most materials or substances that your business discards are classified as waste. You must ensure that your waste is handled safely and legally, both on and off your site.

Even if you reuse, recycle or treat materials or substances, they can still be classified as waste. You must ensure you recycle safely and legally, both on and off your site.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

If you work as a sub-contractor and your main contractor reuses, recovers, recycles or disposes of the waste you produce, you are still responsible for making sure the waste is handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally.

You must treat all containers of highly flammable substances as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

You must store all liquid wastes securely, in bunded secondary containment areas, where they cannot pollute drains, watercourses or surrounding land.

Keep spill kits nearby to contain and control accidental spills. More detailed information on bunds is available in Pollution Prevention Guideline (PPG) 2.

PPG 2 Above ground oil storage tanks (Adobe PDF - 276KB)

Before you reuse, recover, recycle or dispose of waste containers, you must check whether their contents are classified as hazardous/special waste. Read the label on the container or the relevant Safety Data Sheet to help you do this.

If the contents are classified as hazardous, then you must treat the entire container as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

Segregate wastes and make sure that you do not mix hazardous/special waste with other waste. If you don't do this all the waste will be hazardous/special waste.

You can use brash in a number of ways during forestry operations, for example to prevent soil erosion and to protect regrowth.

Forestry Commission: Managing brash on conifer clearfell sites (Adobe PDF - 2.34MB)

What you must do

Duty of Care for Waste

You must understand your waste responsibilities and comply with the Duty of Care for Waste. This includes:

  • Use waste transfer notes (WTN) when waste leaves your site, or a “season ticket” WTN from your waste company.
  • Store waste safely and securely to prevent windblown litter
  • Present glass, metal, plastic, paper, and card (including cardboard) for separate collection
  • Segregate food waste for separate collection if required.

Find all the requirements in our guideline:

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

Separate hazardous/special waste

Hazardous waste includes:

  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Some empty chemical containers
  • Liquid wastes that can’t be disposed of to sewers (certain chemicals)

Read the safety data sheets that come with chemicals to see if unused or waste containers must be treated as hazardous/special waste. Liquid waste cannot be disposed of in landfill sites and certain chemicals and dyes used in the hairdressing and beauty sector could be harmful if disposed of down the sink and into public sewers.

Use funnels and drip trays to capture any liquid and to recover the product for reuse. Clean up spills immediately.

Use dry clean–up methods for spills. Don’t hose down work areas or floors and create larger amounts of contaminated water.  

You should have a Trade Effluent Consent from your water/sewerage provider. This will give information on what you can and cannot put into the sewers.

Read our guidance on hazardous/special waste and managing liquid wastes

Hazardous/special waste

Trade effluent – managing liquid wastes

Clinical type waste

If you use syringes or needles (e.g. for Botox) you must segregate them in an appropriate container labelled as sharps. Clinical waste must be segregated and dealt with according to:

GOV.UK: Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

Health Protection Scotland: Clinical waste

Good practice

Set up a recycling station in your workplace and make sure you can separate the main types of waste you produce. Make sure staff use it and encourage clients to use it too.

This will allow you to reuse or recycle key materials. Once you can see what types of waste you produce, and what makes up the most of your waste, you can take steps to reduce waste.

You can look at ways to avoid producing waste in the first place.

Reduce waste

Use products carefully – consider dispensing products in measured amounts using pump dispensers or measures. This will reduce the volume of waste produced, and over time this will amount to savings on waste costs.

Using less shampoo, dyes, nail and other products can be done without reducing the quality of the service. Mix only what you need, and always completely empty product bottles before discarding. It will reduce waste, and the amount of products ending up in the sewers.

Try and use products with a longer shelf-life.

You could reduce paper use, by emailing or texting clients’ appointments rather than giving paper slips.

Paper towels are often used in salons to prevent hair and hand dryers from blowing dust and chemicals around. These could be replaced with paper dispensers that will deliver a single sheet at a time. This prevents numerous towels being pulled out at once.

Reuse

Look for products that you can buy in bulk and use to refill dispensers. This prevents throwing out containers, bottles and cans.

Use pump dispensers instead of aerosols – this means the dispensers can be refilled instead of throwing away cans.

Cut hair can be reused to make wigs and you will be contributing to a good cause.

Wigs for kids: donate hair

Little Process Trust: donate hair

Cancer Research UK: Hair donation and wigs

Hair can also be taken for composting, as can paper towels. Speak to your waste collection provider to find out the options in your area.

Recycle

All waste collectors, when collecting waste paper, metal, plastic or glass must ensure that those wastes are collected separately. To ensure this takes place efficiently and effectively you should take all measures possible to segregate your wastes. If you produce any large quantity of any other material you should speak to your waste service provider, or you can find places to recycle it using the waste directories.

Find your nearest waste site.

You can include separate recycling for any material that you produce, such as batteries, electrical equipment or foil wraps. The waste directory will allow you find your nearest recycling site for that material.

Further information

Ecohairandbeauty: Salon waste management

Ecohairandbeauty: Trainee hairdresser survey

Any business that wants to reduce its waste should contact:

In Scotland - Resource Efficient Scotland

In Northern Ireland – WRAP Northern Ireland

The Virtual Salon

Ecohair and beauty have developed their Virtual Salon. You can log on and enter the virtual salon to learn about sustainable hair care in a fun and engaging way. Once finished you can get the Sustainable stylist certificate. Why not get all staff to work through the salon and be eligible for the Sustainable Salon Certificate.

Find out more ands sign up for your free access to the virtual salon.

Ecohair and Beauty: Virtual Salon

What you must do

You must have an authorisation, such as a licence, permit or consent, from your environmental regulator before you discharge any sewage, effluent or contaminated run-off to the water environment. You must comply with any conditions in your authorisation.

You must not allow run-off from manure heaps or contaminated yards to enter surface water drains or watercourses. The run-off would normally need significant treatment before being discharged to comply with an authorisation.

Preventing water pollution

Trade effluent is any liquid waste you discharge from your business.

Before you discharge trade effluent into a public sewer you must have a trade effluent consent or enter into a trade effluent agreement with your water or sewerage company or authority. You must comply with the conditions of your consent or agreement.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Water UK: Water and sewerage operators

If you do not have the appropriate authorisation to discharge to sewer or watercourses, then you will need to collect dirty water in a sealed tank for disposal. You must use a registered waste carrier if you use a contractor to remove this waste.

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Good practice

You should place heaps of horse manure and bedding where there is no risk of run-off polluting watercourses. They should be at least 10 metres from a watercourse and 50 metres from a well, spring or borehole that supplies water for human consumption or for use in dairy farms.

Permanent manure stores should have an impermeable base that slopes so that run-off can be collected easily in a sealed underground tank.

You should dispose of manure by spreading it on land where it is of agricultural benefit. If you spread manure and effluent you need to be aware of limitations on landspreading.

Laboratories can produce a variety of different wastes, including:

  • gas and dust
  • liquid solutions that contain chemicals
  • solid wastes
  • wastes that contain radioactive substances
  • animal by-products.

What you must do

You must ensure that anyone dealing with your laboratory waste complies with the duty of care for waste.

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

You must carry out a risk assessment before working with materials which are potentially harmful to human health or the environment. This includes work with certain chemicals, radioactive substances, biological agents and any laboratory work that creates waste containing animal by-products.

Health and Safety Executive: COSHH information

HSENI: A brief guide to the COSHH Regulations In Northern Ireland (Adobe PDF - 679KB)

You should use a fume hood or other local exhaust ventilation system when carrying out work which can result in the release of gases or dust. If the process could result in the release of particularly hazardous material then you should carry it out in a glove box or glove bag. You can use filters to remove harmful materials from emissions to air.

Fume hoods

If you use or supply a potentially hazardous chemical, you must make sure that it is accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The MSDS gives information on how you should handle, store and dispose of hazardous chemicals. If you do not receive an MSDS, you must contact the supplier and ask for one. Suppliers who fail to provide adequate information for the safe use of their products are breaking the law.

Most businesses produce some waste that is harmful to humans and the environment. In Northern Ireland you may need to treat this waste as hazardous waste. In Scotland, you may need to treat this waste as special waste.

You must follow regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.

Before you reuse, recover, recycle or dispose of waste containers, you must check whether their contents are classified as hazardous/special waste. Read the label on the container or the relevant Material Safety Data Sheet to help you do this.

If the contents are classified as hazardous, then you must treat the entire container as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

You must ensure that staff who use hazardous materials in the course of their work receive training in the hazards and risks. You must also ensure that you make suitable protective clothing and equipment available. Anyone working with potentially hazardous materials must sign an acknowledgement of training received and protective equipment supplied.

Before you discharge trade effluent into a public sewer you must have a trade effluent consent or enter into a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage operator. Once you have a consent or agreement, you must comply with its conditions.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Water UK: UK water and sewerage operators

You can only store or dispose of waste that contains radioactive substances if you have a certificate of authorisation from your environmental regulator, unless an exemption order applies. Your authorisation will contain limitations and conditions that control how you must store or dispose of radioactive waste. The limitations and conditions require you to minimise the radioactive waste that you produce and only dispose of radioactive waste via an authorised route or to an authorised person.

Radioactive substances and waste

Animal by-products from laboratory experiments are classed as category 1 (very high risk) animal by-products. You must make sure that they are removed by a registered waste carrier and disposed of by incineration or by rendering followed by incineration or landfill.

Animal by-products and food waste

You must separate waste and store hazardous/special waste in secure labelled containers.

Segregating your healthcare waste

Good practice

Disposal costs for laboratory waste can be high. Plan in advance and minimise the amount of waste you produce.

Recycling your healthcare business waste

Where possible replace hazardous materials with materials that pose a lower risk to health and the environment.

You should locate waste storage areas on an impermeable surface. Use bunds to prevent leaks or spills entering drains, surface water or surrounding ground.

Waste storage and transport

You should regularly dispose of wastes and not allow a build up of material.

Keep spill kits with absorbent materials close to storage areas and ensure that staff are trained in their use.

This guidance is for farmers who spread:

  • livestock slurry
  • solid manure from agriculture
  • silage effluent.

What you must do

In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with rules under the Nitrate Action Programme Regulations and the Phosphorous Regulations.

Northern Ireland: Nitrate Action Programme Regulations

DARD: Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and Phosphorus Regulations 2015-2018

In Scotland find out whether you are within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ). If you are within an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.

Scotland: nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)

You must not let livestock slurry, silage effluent or manure enter rivers, streams or other watercourses. If you allow polluting effluent to enter surface waters or groundwater you may be committing a pollution offence.

Preventing water pollution

In Scotland you must not apply slurry or organic fertilisers:

  • within 10 metres of any drainage ditch or any surface water or wetland
  • within 50 metres of any well, spring or borehole that supplies water for human consumption, or any uncapped well or borehole
  • on land that is waterlogged or covered with snow
  • on land with an average soil depth less than 40cm that overlies gravel or fissured rock .

You must not apply livestock slurry on frozen land.

Farming and Water Scotland – Know the rules guides: slurry and manure

Good practice

You should:

  • spread manure, dirty water and slurry from livestock premises to land in line with good agricultural practice
  • match the amount of nutrients you apply to the needs of your crops (especially phosphorous and nitrogen) by drawing up a nutrient management plan
  • supervise the work of contractors spreading your slurry to ensure they are aware of the codes of good agricultural practice and the advice on high-risk and non-spreading areas
  • monitor the content of metals in pig and poultry manures and in the soil on fields which receive regular applications.

A manure management plan will help you decide when and where to spread your organic manures. It should take into account slope, watercourses, drainage, soil type, crop type and rainfall. The codes of good agricultural practice will help you develop a manure management plan.

In Northern Ireland, see section 3 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

In Scotland, see section 4 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code and the 4 Point Plan.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF - 1.34MB)

Scottish Government: 4 Point Plan

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice also provide general advice on how to prevent nitrates and phosphorous leaching from your fields into the water environment.

In Northern Ireland:

DAERA: Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and Phosphorus Regulations 2015-2018

NIEA: Nitrates Action Programme (NAP)

In Scotland:

Scottish Government: 4 Point Plan

Farming and Water Scotland: 'Know the rules' guidance
Agricultural Industries Confederation (UK): Fertiliser publications

This guidance is for non-extractive waste and waste mobile plant at your site.

Non-extractive waste is any waste at your site that is not directly produced by mining or quarrying activities, including:

  • food waste, eg cooking oils, raw ingredients, packaging
  • office waste, eg paper, card, fluorescent tubes, toner cartridges
  • plant and machinery waste, eg oil and fuel filters, tyres, parts
  • waste batteries, electrical equipment and vehicles, eg computers, trucks.

If your non-extractive waste is hazardous, see our hazardous / special waste guidance.

If you produce extractive waste, see our extractive waste guidance.

If you produce food waste, see our animal by-products and food waste guidance.

Businesses in Scotland and in Northern Ireland are required to take all reasonable steps to present at least the following key dry recyclables for separate collection:

  • metals
  • glass
  • plastics
  • paper, and
  • card (including cardboard)

It is the duty of waste collectors to collect and transport these waste streams separately from other wastes.

Waste activities

If you carry out waste disposal or recovery activities you should check whether your activity is a listed activity.

Listed activities are explained in our guidance on installations and mobile plant.

For information on listed activities and waste exemptions, see our guidance on PPC permits for mining and quarrying businesses and waste exemptions.

If your waste disposal or recovery activities are not listed activities then they may be a waste management activity.

Waste operations or waste management activities at mines and quarries may include waste transfer stations or treatment facilities.

Contact your environmental regulator to check whether any of your activities are waste operations or waste management activities.

If your waste operations involve extractive waste, see our extractive waste guidance.

What you must do

If you carry out waste operations or waste management activities you must have a waste management licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or SEPA in Scotland.

How to apply for a permit or licence

NIEA: Apply online

SEPA: Application forms

Further information on waste activities

NIEA: Waste management licensing

SEPA: Waste management licensing

Waste mobile plant

Waste mobile plants are used for waste management activities in Northern Irelandand Scotland.

Contact your environmental regulator to check whether your mine or quarry uses waste mobile plant.

What you must do

If you operate a waste mobile plant, you must have a waste management licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency or SEPA in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Contact your environmental regulator

How to apply for a permit or licence

To find out how to apply for a permit see our guidance on waste management licences.

How do you apply for a waste management licence

Further information on waste mobile plant

NIEA: Waste management licensing

SEPA: Waste management licensing

SEPA: Waste management mobile plant licence application form

Offensive waste is non-infectious waste, which is unpleasant and may cause offence to those coming into contact with it. It includes:

  • outer dressings and protective clothing, eg masks, gowns and gloves that are not contaminated with body fluids
  • hygiene waste and sanitary protection, eg nappies and incontinence pads
  • autoclaved laboratory waste.

Offensive waste does not include any of the following:

  • sharps
  • anatomical waste, eg body parts, organs or blood
  • chemicals medicines
  • dental amalgam
  • any waste that is infectious (ie a clinical waste).

If any of the above are present in the waste, it is not classed as offensive waste.

You must make sure that your business does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours or local community. Anyone affected by a nuisance can take legal action against you or your business or complain to your local council.

Noise and nuisance

Disposing of offensive waste

Offensive waste is classified as non-hazardous waste.

You must complete waste transfer notes for any waste that leaves your site. You must keep copies of all waste transfer notes for two years.

You must ensure that your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally. You must comply with your waste responsibilities, known as your duty of care.

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

You can dispose of offensive waste by incineration or non-hazardous landfill.

Landfill

Waste incineration

Most clinical waste treatment sites are not authorised to dispose of offensive waste as it is not infectious. You must make sure that the site receiving your waste is authorised to deal with your particular type of waste.

Containers for offensive waste

This waste should be placed in a 'tiger bag'. A tiger bag is a yellow bag with one or more broad black stripes.

You must not place offensive waste in a clinical waste container or a black refuse sack.

How to complete the waste paperwork

Classifying and describing offensive waste

If you have segregated your waste according to this guidance, you will need to classify the waste in the waste transfer note as follows:

Use the European waste catalogue code 18 01 04

Example description: Offensive waste - human healthcare waste that has been determined by assessment to present no risk of infection.

Further information

Waste Thesaurus: SEPA guidance for coding waste An alphabetical list of waste types with their corresponding EWC codes.

GOV.UK: Safe management of healthcare waste (UK-wide)

SNIFFER: Best practice guidance for the management of hygiene waste for key producers in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Pharmaceutical waste includes:

  • waste medicines
  • packaging contaminated with medicines
  • items used to handle and administer medicines, eg medicine-contaminated syringe bodies.

For cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines, and items that are contaminated by them, see the guidance for cytotoxic and cytostatic waste. Cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines are medicines that are either: toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction.

Cytotoxic and cytostatic waste

Disposing of pharmaceutical waste

Waste drugs and other pharmaceutical products that, unless made safe, could be hazardous to anyone who comes into contact with them are classified as clinical waste.

You must complete waste transfer notes for any waste that leaves your site. You must keep copies of all waste transfer notes for two years.

You must ensure that your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally. You must comply with your waste responsibilities, known as your duty of care.

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

Pharmaceutical waste must be made safe.

In Northern Ireland, pharmaceutical waste must be made safe by clinical waste incineration at an authorised incinerator.

In Scotland, pharmaceutical waste which is classed as cytotoxic or cytostatic must be disposed of by clinical waste incineration at an authorised incinerator. Other pharmaceutical waste can be made safe either by clinical waste incineration or by other appropriate methods.

Containers for pharmaceutical waste

Place all pharmaceutical waste in rigid leak-proof containers.

Store liquid wastes separately in appropriate individual leak-proof containers to prevent mixing.

Your containers should be clearly labelled by the manufacturer to identify that they are suitable for and contain pharmaceutical waste.

Your waste contractor should be able to advise or supply you with a container that meets the relevant requirements.

In this container you can place any non-cytotoxic and non-cytostatic pharmaceutical waste including:

  • waste medicines in any form, eg tablets, capsules, liquids, creams, aerosols
  • packaging contaminated with medicines
  • items used in the handling or administration of these medicines, eg contaminated glass bottles and packaging, syringe bodies and intravenous giving sets.

How to complete the waste paperwork

Classifying and describing pharmaceutical waste

If you have segregated your waste according to this guidance, you will need to classify the waste in the waste transfer note as follows:

For pharmaceutical waste from:

  • human healthcare, use the European waste catalogue code 18 01 09
  • animal healthcare, use the European waste catalogue code 18 02 08
  • patient returns to pharmacies, use the European waste catalogue code 20 01 32
  • pharmaceutical manufacture, use the European waste catalogue code 18 01 09 or 18 02 08.

Example description: Clinical waste - pharmaceutical waste (non-cytotoxic and non-cytostatic), for incineration only.

Further information

Waste Thesaurus: SEPA guidance for coding waste An alphabetical list of waste types with their corresponding EWC codes.

GOV.UK: Safe management of healthcare waste (UK-wide)

You must handle and dispose of any sanitary waste you produce safely. You should not flush sanitary waste down the toilet.

Sanitary waste includes used:

  • nappies
  • sanitary towels
  • tampons
  • incontinence pads
  • condoms.

What you must do

If you provide toilet facilities on your premises for employees and visitors you must plan how you will deal with sanitary waste.

As a business, you have a duty to ensure that any waste you produce is handled safely and within the law. This is your duty of care.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

As part of your duty of care you must ensure that you only transfer your waste to a person or business that is authorised to deal with that type of waste.

Find your nearest waste site

You must keep records for two years of all waste that you transfer or receive.

Good practice

Sanitary waste should not be flushed down the toilet. It may cause blockages in sewage pipes at sewage treatment plants and septic tanks, causing sewage and sanitary waste to pollute the sea, rivers and eventually beaches.

Install sanitary bins for female employees and visitors to dispose of used feminine hygiene products. They should be in all female or unisex toilets, disabled toilets and baby changing facilities. This could save you from having to pay expensive drain cleaning bills.

The national Bag It and Bin It campaign provides information on disposing of personal hygiene products responsibly.

National Bag It and Bin It campaign

Sanitary waste does not include sewage. See our trade effluent guidance for information on discharging effluent to sewer.

This guidance is relevant if your business uses scrap metal. For example, you may melt scrap metal in your furnaces.

If your business recycles or recovers scrap metal, see our guidance on scrap metal for recycling and reprocessing businesses.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit, licence or exemption

If you store, treat, recover or dispose of waste scrap metal, you may need a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or registered exemption.

Some waste activities are exempt from licensing. For example, you may need to register a waste exemption with your environmental regulator to use contaminated scrap.

In Scotland clean scrap metal offcuts from metal manufacturing processes are considered to be a by-product rather than waste in some circumstances. Read the SEPA position statement to find out if waste regulation controls apply to your scrap metal offcuts.

SEPA: Regulatory position statement on clean scrap metal offcuts

Check if your scrap metal is contaminated or hazardous

Examine all scrap material you buy or use to check if it is contaminated or hazardous.

Contaminants include radioactive materials, plastic, rubber and oil. For information on how to check for radioactive sources, see our guidance on radioactive materials.

Some of your scrap metal may be classed as hazardous/special waste. For example, metal in waste oil filters, spent battery casings, metal containers with hazardous contents or mercury in fluorescent tubes.

You must comply with special controls for hazardous/special waste. For more information, see our guidance on hazardous/special waste.

Comply with import and export regulation

If you transport scrap metal into or out of the UK, you must comply with regulations on the international shipment of waste. For more information see our guidance on importing and exporting waste.

Good practice

Be a good operator

Set up a scrap management system. This will help you identify and separate out contaminants such as radioactive materials, plastic, rubber and oil.

Use non-chlorinated cutting fluids for all applications, especially where you might recycle the scrap material.

Prevent land and water pollution

Store your oil-contaminated scrap on concrete pads.

Install drainage systems in your storage areas that are isolated from your general drainage and are fitted with an oil interceptor or an alternative water treatment system. Get your oil interceptor inspected and serviced regularly. You may need permission from your environmental regulator or your water company or authority to discharge the waste water from your oil interceptor.

PPG 3 Use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems (Adobe PDF – 78.6KB)

This guidance is for farmers who apply sewage sludge (biosolids) or septic tank sludge to agricultural land.

If you supply or spread sludge to agricultural land, you must meet the requirements of the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations. They prohibit the use of sludge from waste water (sewage) treatment works and septic tanks being spread on agricultural land unless specified requirements are fulfilled. They also specify certain activities that are not permitted on land following sludge application, until prescribed periods of time have lapsed.

You must comply with these regulations in order to meet the requirements of the cross compliance rules of the single farm payment scheme.

Cross compliance

What you must do

Check if you are in a nitrate vulnerable zone

In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with rules under the Nitrate Action Programme Regulations and the Phosphorous Regulations.

Northern Ireland: Nitrate Action Programme and Phosphorus Regulations

In Scotland you should find out whether you are in a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ). If you are in an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.

Scotland: nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)

In Scotland, you must not spread slurry or manure, including sewage sludge:

  • within 10m of any ditch, burn, river, loch, wetland or coastal water (on sloping ground a wider buffer zone may be required).
  • within 50m of any spring that supplies water for human consumption or any uncapped well or borehole.
  • on waterlogged or snow covered ground.
  • on shallow soils (average depth of less than 40cm over gravel or fissured rock).

Farming and Water Scotland – ‘Know the rules’ guides: slurry and manure

Use sewage sludge that has been tested

You must only use sewage sludge that has been tested according to the Sludge Regulations. You must check that you do not exceed the limit on the average annual rate of addition of metals in the sludge.

You must not spread sewage sludge on a field unless you have tested the soil according to the Sludge Regulations. This includes checking that the limit on the concentration of metals in the soil will not be exceeded by spreading the sludge.

In Northern Ireland these limits are listed in Schedule 2 of The Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989

Schedule 2 of the Regulations

In Scotland these limits are listed in the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity( PEPFAA), Chapter 5, Appendix 1  (Section 5 - Non-agricultural wastes and other imported organic wastes)

Scottish Government: PEPFAA Code

You must not spread sludge on land that has a soil pH of less than five.

You must follow all mandatory stock grazing, cropping and harvesting restrictions.

 The Safe Sludge Matrix should also be followed. The Matrix does not allow raw or untreated sewage sludge to be used on agricultural land for food production. Undigested sludge or septic tank sludge should not be used on land used for food crops.

The following Safe Sludge Matrix restrictions are specific to sewage sludge and to land used to grow food crops or for grazing.

  • Sludge may only be applied to land to grow food crops if it has been “conventionally treated” or “enhanced treated”
  • Conventionally treated sludge must not be surface applied to grass for grazing.

The table below shows how long you must wait (column 3) before carrying out certain activities (column 1) on land where sludge has been spread

Table 1: Grazing and Harvest Periods

1

2

3

Activity

Sludge Type

Period (commencing on the date of the use)

Grazing animals or harvesting forage crops

Conventionally Treated Sludge (Must be deep injected or ploughed down only)

 

Enhanced Treated Sludge

 

 No grazing in season of application

 

Three weeks

Harvesting vegetables

Conventionally Treated Sludge

12 months

Enhanced Treated Sludge

10 months

Harvesting fruit and salad crops which are grown in direct contact with the soil and normally eaten raw

Conventionally Treated Sludge

30 months

Enhanced Treated Sludge

10 months

 

 

Conventionally Treated Sludge” is sludge which has been treated to ensure at least 99% of pathogens have been destroyed.

Enhanced Treated Sludge” is sludge which has been treated to ensure it is free from Salmonella and that 99.9999% pathogens have been destroyed.

You must give a sewage sludge producer information about any past sludge use by a different producer. This should include details of where, when and how much sludge was used and who supplied it.

Inform your environmental regulator immediately if sewage sludge enters a watercourse. Use the pollution hotline 0800 80 70 60.

Spreading sewage sludge on non-agricultural land

If you spread sewage sludge or septic tank sludge to non-agricultural land, you must register an exemption from waste management licensing.

For more information read our guidance on landspreading waste.

Good practice

Water UK and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) developed the Safe Sludge Matrix. It consists of a table of crop types, together with clear guidance on the minimum acceptable level of treatment for any sewage sludge which may be applied to that crop or rotation. Please note that your environmental regulator does not enforce the Safe Sludge Matrix.

The Safe Sludge Matrix

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide more advice on sludge spreading.

In Northern Ireland, see section 4 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

DAERA: Sewage Sludge

In Scotland, see section 5 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF - 1.34MB)

Farming and Water Scotland: ‘Know the rules’ guidance

A sharp is an item that could cause cuts or punctures. Sharps include:

  • needles syringes
  • scalpels and blades
  • infusion sets
  • broken glass
  • sharp instruments.

A syringe body is not considered to be a sharp. If a syringe body is contaminated with medicine it is classed as pharmaceutical waste.

Pharmaceutical waste

There are three types of sharps. They are sharps:

  • contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines
  • contaminated with other medicines
  • that have not been used to administer medicines.

Disposing of sharps

Infected sharps are classified as hazardous/special waste. You must store, transport and dispose of this waste as hazardous/special waste to make sure you do not cause a risk to human health or the environment. You are committing an offence if you do not follow the regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

You must not mix hazardous/special waste with your other waste or with other types of hazardous/special waste. Segregate your waste so that different wastes types do not get contaminated.

Segregating your healthcare waste

You must complete consignment notes for any hazardous/special waste that leaves your site. You must keep a register containing all of the consignment notes and the consignee returns. You must keep these records for three years.

You must ensure that your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally. You must comply with your waste responsibilities, known as your duty of care.

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

You must make sure that sharps are disposed of in a way that ensures they are made safe.

In Northern Ireland:

  • if contaminated with medicines, sharps must go for clinical waste incineration.
  • if you segregate your non-medicinally contaminated sharps, you may dispose of them by alternative treatment, eg autoclaving.

In Scotland:

  • non-infectious (non-hazardous) sharps may be made safe by shredding
  • infectious (hazardous) sharps may be made safe by shredding combined with an appropriate alternative treatment
  • sharps contaminated with, or containing, cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines must be made safe by incineration.

Containers for sharps

You must contain and dispose of sharps in a sharps box. You should never dispose of sharps in a bag, as this could injure staff.

Your containers should be clearly labelled by the manufacturer to show that they are suitable for and contain sharps waste.

Coloured containers

Use containers of the appropriate colours to dispose of sharps:

  • If the sharps are contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines, use yellow sharps boxes with purple lids.
  • If the sharps are contaminated with medicines (other than cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines), use yellow sharps boxes with yellow lids.
  • In Northern Ireland sharps that are not contaminated with medicines can be further segregated into yellow boxes with orange lids. These can then be treated rather than disposed of by incineration.

You can also use the containers with yellow and purple lids for used glass bottles, vials and syringe bodies contaminated with medicines, as well as for sharps.

Always check the labels as well as the colour coding.

How to complete the waste paperwork

Classifying and describing sharps waste

If you have segregated your waste according to this guidance, you will need to classify the waste in the consignment note as follows:

Use the European waste catalogue codes:

  • 18 01 03* and 18 01 09 for infectious sharps contaminated with medicines (other than cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines)
  • 18 01 03* and 18 01 08* for infectious sharps contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines.

Example description: Clinical waste - mixed infectious sharps and pharmaceutical waste, for incineration only.

Syringes are still considered to be medicinally contaminated even if they are fully discharged.

If you segregate sharps not contaminated with medicines into yellow boxes with an orange lid you will need to classify the waste in the consignment note as follows:

Use the European waste catalogue code 18 01 03*
Example description: Clinical waste - sharps non-medicinally contaminated, suitable for alternative treatment.

You should not enter non-hazardous waste codes on consignment notes. You should describe and code each hazardous waste present on the consignment note.

Further information

GOV.UK: Safe management of healthcare waste (UK-wide)

What you must do

Most tyres can no longer be disposed of in landfill sites, although whole tyres can still be used by landfill sites for engineering purposes.

Tyres from heavy plant that have an outside diameter greater than 1.4 metres can still be disposed of at landfills that have a suitable permit.

If you have tyres to dispose of, ask your waste disposal contractor for disposal options in your area.

Alternatively, to find contractors in your area who can recycle or dispose of waste tyres, use the waste directory.

Find your nearest waste site

Recycled tyres

If your business recycles materials, both on or off your site, you must meet certain regulations to ensure you recycle safely and legally.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

Current destinations for waste tyres include:

  • retreading tyres
  • re-using part-worn tyres
  • landfill engineering
  • export for use abroad
  • fuel (primarily in cement kilns)
  • stockpiles.

From 30 March 2016 operators in Scotland will no longer be able to register an exemption with SEPA for the storage (paragraph 17) or treatement (paragraph 11) of waste tyres. A full Waste Management Licence will be required.

NIEA: Regulatory Position Statement – Reuse and Recycling Routes for Waste Tyres in Northern Ireland

SEPA: Position statement on the export of shredded waste tyres

This guidance is for farmers that import wastes such as paper sludge and food wastes to spread on their land.

What you must do

If you landspread wastes such as paper sludge, compost, dredging spoil or ash, you may need to register an exemption from waste management licensing.

If you have registered an exemption you must ensure that you do not:

  • endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • pose a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance, eg noise or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

Permits, exemptions and requirements for landspreading

Landspreading activity Type of permit or exemption reference
Northern Ireland Scotland
Landspreading sewage sludge on agricultural land
Read our guidance on landspreading sewage sludge
Comply with the Sludge Regulations Comply with the Sludge Regulations
Securely storing sewage sludge to be spread on agricultural land Paragraph 10 exemption Paragraph 8 exemption
Landspreading sewage sludge on non-agricultural land Paragraph 10A exemption Paragraph 8 exemption
Spreading waste on agricultural land for benefit or ecological improvement Paragraph 9 exemption Paragraph 7 exemption
Spreading waste on non-agricultural land for benefit or ecological improvement Paragraph 9 exemption Paragraph 7 exemption
Spreading waste for reclamation or improvement of land Paragraph 11 exemption Paragraph 9 exemption

Comply with the conditions of your exemptions

To qualify for exemptions from waste management licensing you must comply with other requirements. For example:

  • you must only spread waste types that are listed in the regulations
  • you must not exceed the quantities for the specific type of waste you are spreading
  • you must store waste in a secure place before spreading
  • you must not spread waste on land that is frozen, waterlogged or covered in snow
  • your treatment of land may need to benefit wildlife or agriculture.

In Northern Ireland, for a full list of exempt wastes, see Schedule 2, paragraph 9, table 3 of the Waste Management Licensing (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2003.

Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003

In Scotland, for a full list of exempt wastes, see Appendix 4 of Section 5 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Section 5 of the PEPFAA Code

Nitrate vulnerable zones

In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with spreading rules under the Nitrate Action Programme Regulations and the Phosphorous Regulations.

Northern Ireland: Nitrate Action Programme and Phosphorus Regulations

DAERA Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) & Phosphorus Regulations 2015-2018

In Scotland check if you are in a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ). If you are within an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.

Scotland: Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm

Further information

Codes of good agricultural practice

The codes of good agricultural practice provide more guidance on landspreading waste.

In Northern Ireland, see section 4 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

In Scotland, see section 5 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF - 1.34MB)

Environmental regulators' web pages on exemptions

NIEA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

What you must do

Store waste oil correctly

If you store any kind of oil on your premises, including waste oil, you must comply with the Oil Storage Regulations.

Oil storage

PPG 8 Safe storage and disposal of used oils

NEW PPG 2 Above ground oil storage tanks

You must store all your waste securely and comply with your duty of care. Read our guidance on your waste responsibilities.

Dispose of waste oil safely

Waste oils, except edible oil, are classed as hazardous/special waste and should be disposed of accordingly.

Wastes contaminated with oils, for example oily rags, would in most cases be classed as hazardous/special waste. Read our guidance for hazardous/special waste.

If you have waste oil to dispose of, make sure it is taken or collected for recycling by a licensed business. As a construction or demolition business, if you transport your waste to a disposal site, you will need to be registered as a waste carrier.

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Use our waste directory to find licensed sites in your area that can recycle or dispose of waste oil.

Waste Directory: Find your nearest waste site

You must not mix waste oil with any other materials, including different types of oils. If you mix hazardous/special waste with other materials, the whole load will be classed as hazardous/special waste. This will make it more expensive for you to dispose of. You must have an appropriate permit or licence if you want to mix different types of hazardous/special wastes.

You must not tip oil into drains or onto land as this can result in the pollution of rivers and groundwater and cause land contamination.

Trade effluent is any liquid waste you discharge from your business.

Before you discharge trade effluent into a public sewer you must have a trade effluent consent or enter into a trade effluent agreement with your water or sewerage company or authority. You must comply with the conditions of your consent or agreement.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Water UK: Water and sewerage operators

Check if you need a permit to burn waste oil

If you burn waste oil in an appliance you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, waste management licence or exemption.

Pollution prevention and control permits

Waste management licences

You must not burn waste oil on a bonfire as this will cause air pollution.

Good practice

If you use oil filters, for example for engine lubricating oil, you should drain waste oil from the filters and send them as hazardous/special waste to be crushed and recycled. This also makes the waste oil easier to handle and to send for recovery.

Further Information

PPG 8 Safe storage and disposal of used oils

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    Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 775KB)

     

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms