Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More waste treatment processes (P- W)

More guidance on waste treatment processes in alphabetical order from A to O

Additional resources

  

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.

In Scotland, certain discharges of water run-off to the water environment are authorised if you comply with certain general binding rules (GBR). In such cases, you do not need to apply for authorisation from SEPA.

Preventing water pollution

Contact your environmental regulator

Plastics include plastic bottles, films, industrial and agricultural drums and containers, and plastic packaging. Different grades of plastics are used for different applications, and you must recycle them separately.

Recycling businesses collect, process and store plastics, and transport plastics to reprocessors for remoulding or compounding. Some recycling businesses remould or compound plastics themselves.

What you must do

Authorisation to operate

Some plastics recycling sites may require a pollution prevention and control permit for example if you use certain colourants, stabilisers or flame retardants in your compounding processes.

Does your recycling and reprocessing business need a permit, licence or exemption?

Ensure that you do not make any discharge to public sewers, surface waters or groundwater without consulting the appropriate regulator. To make a discharge without a consent or appropriate authorisation may be an offence and could lead to enforcement action.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Preventing water pollution

If you store, handle, transport, treat, recover, reuse or recycle waste plastics, you must hold a waste management licence or exemption.

You must meet your requirements under the duty of care.

Duty of Care: Your waste responsibilities

Your business may need to comply with packaging regulations.

Packaging

You may need to treat some plastics as hazardous/special waste, for example plastic containers or drums which held oils or creosote, and agricultural plastics such as silage films.

Hazardous / special waste

You must treat hazardous/special waste plastics in designated, signed, bunded treatment areas. You must keep hazardous/special waste separately from all other materials. You should clean plastics to remove hazardous substances such as engine oil or antifreeze before storage and processing. This reduces cross contamination and pollution, and increases the financial value of your plastics. Use secondary containment systems or bunds to contain any spills or contaminated run-off from plastics.

Pollution Prevention Guideline (PPG) 2 contains guidance on bunding and storage.

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

Discharges

In Northern Ireland you must have a discharge consent, groundwater authorisation or a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit before you discharge anything other than clean uncontaminated water to the environment. This includes sewage, trade effluent or contaminated surface run-off.

NIEA: Regulation of water discharges

In Scotland you must comply with the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) when making discharges. Some discharges of water run-off to surface water and groundwater are authorised if you comply with the general binding rules (GBR). In such cases, you do not need to apply for authorisation from SEPA. For other discharges you may need to register or get a licence.

SEPA: CAR – A practical guide (Adobe PDF - 562KB)

You must comply with all the conditions of your authorisation, permit or consent.

Storage and handling

Store plastics for recycling on hard, waterproof surfaces, under cover and as far away as possible from watercourses. Do not store plastics on bare earth. This could allow contaminants such as dirt or grease to pollute land and watercourses, for example if grease from plastics was washed into a stream.

Separate plastics to avoid contamination, for example store oily industrial drums away from clean food packaging.

Waste storage and transport

Equipment and processing

You must ensure that your recycling equipment does not cause pollution or a nuisance.

Compounding, extrusion and pelletising

You must store and handle chemical additives such as impact modifiers or plasticisers safely and legally to avoid land, air or water pollution. Read and follow the Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals you use.

Oil storage

Chemical storage

Ensure you use secure, heatproof recycling or disposal drums for contaminants filtered off during extrusion. Investigate whether you can recycle the filters at the end of their life. You may need to treat them as hazardous/special waste.

Ensure your recirculating water systems for cooling plastics after extrusion use sealed water treatment plants.

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

If you use cooling towers or evaporative condensers, you must register with your local council.

Cooling towers

Extruders can produce hazardous fumes if the materials inside become overheated. Ensure operating temperatures are well controlled, heat gauges are regularly maintained, die plates are clean and processing areas are well ventilated. You may require exhaust ventilation systems.

Certain plastics such as PVC are very temperature sensitive. Check that PVC batches are correctly mixed with additives or other plastics during blending and extrusion to avoid fumes and potential fires.

Good practice

Separate plastics by grade. This makes them easier to reprocess and more financially valuable. For example, separate the following grades:

  • (1) PET Polyethylene Terephthalate, eg plastic drinks bottles or salad trays
  • (2) HDPE High Density Polyethylene, eg milk, ,bleach, cleaner or shampoo bottles
  • (3) PVC Polyvinyl Chloride, eg pipes, fittings, door frames, motor parts
  • (4) LDPE Low Density Polyethylene, eg carrier bags, bin liners, packaging film
  • (5) PP Polypropylene, eg margarine tubs, vehicle upholstery, carpet fibre
  • (6) PS Polystyrene, eg egg cartons, protective packaging for electrical goods, insulation materials in construction.

Further information

NetRegs: Rubber and plastic products business sector

British Plastics Federation: Recycling of plastics

Zero Waste Scotland: Business reuse and recycling directory

Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

What you must do

Waste recovery and the REACH Regulations

If your waste recovery activities involve the manufacture, import or use any chemical substances, preparations or articles you must comply with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation.

REACH aims to protect human health and the environment through the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances.

If you make a product from waste by recovering a chemical substance in quantities of one tonne per year or more, the REACH Regulations may apply to you.

If your business deals with waste without producing any chemical substances from it, then the REACH regulations are unlikely to apply to you.

The UK REACH Competent Authority is hosted by the Health and safety Executive (HSE).

UK REACH Competent Authority

REACH may apply to chemical substances that you recover as they will no longer be classed as waste. If a substance ceases to be a waste and REACH applies you must register or pre-register the substance.

Registration

If you recover chemical substances from waste in quantities of one tonne or more per calendar year and the substance is not exempt, you must register it with the ECHA.

ECHA: Guidance on registration (Adobe PDF - 1.36MB)

If your recycled substance is not a waste and you are unsure if it is covered by REACH, contact the UK REACH competent authority helpdesk.

ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk

HSE: Contact us

If you are not sure whether your substance is a waste contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

SEPA: Is it waste? (Adobe PDF - 51KB)

Pre-registration

Pre-registration has now closed. You can only make a late pre-registration if you are recovering one tonne or more of a phase-in substance in a calendar year for the first time. You must be able to provide evidence of this.

If this applies to you, you must pre-register:

  • no more than six months after you begin to recover the substance and
  • at least one year before the ECHA registration deadline for the quantity and type of your chemical.

If you pre-registered any phase-in substances before 1 December 2008 you will still have to complete a full registration with the ECHA. The deadline for your registration will depend on the quantities of chemicals you handle and in some cases whether they have certain hazardous properties. You will have submitted a proposed registration deadline as a part of your pre-registration.

The ECHA has produced a questions and answers document covering pre-registration.

ECHA: REACH pre-registration – Questions and answers (Adobe PDF - 1.45MB)

Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs)

Under REACH, Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs) are created so businesses that have pre-registered the same chemical can share information. You will be able to use SIEFs to make joint registrations. You are automatically added to a SIEF when you pre-register.

ECHA: Information on chemicals

Further information

UK Reach competent authority: REACH & substances recovered from waste (Adobe PDF - 100KB)

REACH regulations

For further information about REACH visit the UK REACH competent authority's website, or contact them by email:

ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk

UK REACH Competent Authority

Ensuring quality recycling at materials recovery facilities (MRFs)

New regulations set out requirements for sampling and reporting procedures for

  • materials entering a MRF
  • segregated materials leaving the MRF

This will improve the understanding of materials in the supply chain, and help identify levels and sources of contamination.

This will benefit MRF operators by helping to ensure that high quality recyclates enter their facilities, and will help to drive innovation and good practice throughout the supply chain.

What you must do

In Scotland:

If you operate a materials recovery facility (MRF) and:

  • you hold either a Waste Management Licence (WML) or a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit
  • and your MRF receives, or is likely to receive more than 1000 tonnes of mixed dry recyclates in any year

then you must comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice on Sampling and Reporting at Materials Recovery Facilities.

Scotland: Code of Practice on Sampling and Reporting at Materials Recovery Facilities

In Northern Ireland:

It is proposed that the Quality Action Plan and Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Code of Practice will be incorporated through a schedule to the planned Permitting Regulations. A Consultation on the Permitting Regulations is anticipated to take place in 2017.

What you must do

Waste recovery and the REACH Regulations

If your waste recovery activities involve the manufacture, import or use any chemical substances, preparations or articles you must comply with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation.

REACH aims to protect human health and the environment through the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances.

If you make a product from waste by recovering a chemical substance in quantities of one tonne per year or more, the REACH Regulations may apply to you.

If your business deals with waste without producing any chemical substances from it, then the REACH regulations are unlikely to apply to you.

The UK REACH Competent Authority is hosted by the Health and safety Executive (HSE).

UK REACH Competent Authority

REACH may apply to chemical substances that you recover as they will no longer be classed as waste. If a substance ceases to be a waste and REACH applies you must register or pre-register the substance.

Registration

If you recover chemical substances from waste in quantities of one tonne or more per calendar year and the substance is not exempt, you must register it with the ECHA.

ECHA: Guidance on registration (Adobe PDF - 1.36MB)

If your recycled substance is not a waste and you are unsure if it is covered by REACH, contact the UK REACH competent authority helpdesk.

ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk

HSE: Contact us

If you are not sure whether your substance is a waste contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

SEPA: Is it waste? (Adobe PDF - 51KB)

Pre-registration

Pre-registration has now closed. You can only make a late pre-registration if you are recovering one tonne or more of a phase-in substance in a calendar year for the first time. You must be able to provide evidence of this.

If this applies to you, you must pre-register:

  • no more than six months after you begin to recover the substance and
  • at least one year before the ECHA registration deadline for the quantity and type of your chemical.

If you pre-registered any phase-in substances before 1 December 2008 you will still have to complete a full registration with the ECHA. The deadline for your registration will depend on the quantities of chemicals you handle and in some cases whether they have certain hazardous properties. You will have submitted a proposed registration deadline as a part of your pre-registration.

The ECHA has produced a questions and answers document covering pre-registration.

ECHA: REACH pre-registration – Questions and answers (Adobe PDF - 1.45MB)

Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs)

Under REACH, Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs) are created so businesses that have pre-registered the same chemical can share information. You will be able to use SIEFs to make joint registrations. You are automatically added to a SIEF when you pre-register.

ECHA: Information on chemicals

Further information

UK Reach competent authority: REACH & substances recovered from waste (Adobe PDF - 100KB)

REACH regulations

For further information about REACH visit the UK REACH competent authority's website, or contact them by email:

ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk

UK REACH Competent Authority

What you must do

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

Materials for recycling, either on your premises or elsewhere, are likely to be waste and will be subject to the requirements of the waste management and the duty of care regimes.

Materials for recycling include:

  • broken out concrete
  • scrap metal
  • copper cable
  • tyres
  • plasterboard
  • timber
  • paper.

Your waste haulage contractor will be able to give you disposal options in your area.

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

Find your nearest waste site

Recycled aggregates

If you recover aggregates from construction, demolition and excavation waste and sell them as products (recycled aggregates), rather than waste, you must comply with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation.

For further information on REACH and recycled aggregates visit the WRAP website.

WRAP: REACH - Obligations for producers of recycled aggregates

Resource Efficient Scotland: Maximising re-use

Northern Ireland

The NIEA in association with the EA and WRAP have revised the end of waste Quality Protocol (October 2013) for the production of aggregates from inert waste. It reflects the latest approved industry standards, including factory production control, and incorporates other improvements and clarifications to make it easier for producers and users to ensure full compliance with the end of waste criteria.

WRAP: Aggregates from inert waste

NIEA: Construction and Demolition Waste and Recycled Concrete 

Your business may produce waste electrical and electronic equipment, paper, glass, plastics, metals, or packaging, all or most of which can be recycled.

Your local council may offer collection and recycling services for some business waste. There are also many private waste contractors that offer this service. You can find a waste contractor near you by using the NetRegs waste directory.

Find your nearest waste site

Contact your local council

What you must do

Materials that you intend to recycle or recover are still likely to be classified as waste. You must ensure that you comply with your waste responsibilities.

The Duty of Care affects all businesses. You must make sure:

  • your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally
  • your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of only by licensed individuals or businesses
  • you record all transfers of waste between your business and another business, using a waste transfer note (WTN)
  • you keep all WTNs, signed by both businesses, for at least two years
  • you record any transfer of hazardous/special waste between your business and another business, using a consignment note
  • you keep all consignment notes, signed by both businesses, for at least three years.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Hazardous / special waste

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Some materials and equipment that you can recycle may be classified as hazardous/special waste. For example some waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) must be segregated from other WEEE. For example:

  • equipment such as fridges and freezers that contain ozone depleting substances
  • televisions and monitors that contain cathode ray tubes
  • WEEE contaminated with potentially infectious bodily fluids, eg diagnostic medical devices and implants.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment

Hazardous/special waste

Carefully segregate clinical waste from any waste that you are going to recycle. Clinical waste requires specialist treatment and disposal. You should not mix it with waste for recycling.

Clinical waste

Good practice

Identify the types of waste that your business produces. Consider how you can keep this waste to a minimum and what can be recycled. Encourage your staff to contribute ideas.

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

  • Make it easy for staff and visitors to recycle their waste. Label suitable containers and make it clear which type of waste they should put in each. Display this information prominently and provide clear instructions.
  • Provide staff training on good waste management practice.
  • Where possible, supply food or drink in reusable containers.
  • Reduce your use of paper. You could do this, for example, by printing two-sided documents and by using email and the internet for business communications and marketing.
  • Recycle cardboard from any packaging. Ask your suppliers to use re-usable packaging for transit.
  • If you are refurbishing your premises or disposing of old furniture items, consider donating them to the Furniture Recycling Network or a similar charity.

Furniture Re-use Network

You may be able to get your waste catering oils reprocessed into biofuels such as biodiesel.

Biofuel for transport

Further information

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

Find your nearest waste site

Resource Efficient Scotland

Wrap Northern Ireland: SMEs

Wastewatch

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

Scrap metals include ferrous and non-ferrous metals from a range of sources including food and drinks packaging, construction waste, end-of-life vehicles and waste electrical appliances. Recycling businesses collect and store metals, and transport them to foundries where they are melted and cast for use in new products.

You must follow certain regulations for recycling some specific metals.

Battery recycling for recycling businesses

Waste electrical and electronic equipment

End-of-life vehicles

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.

In Scotland, certain discharges of water run-off to the water environment are authorised if you comply with certain general binding rules (GBR). In such cases, you do not need to apply for authorisation from SEPA.

Preventing water pollution

Contact your environmental regulator

What you must do

Authorisations to operate

Some metal recycling sites may require a pollution prevention and control permit for < example if you recycle scrap metal cables by removing plastic or rubber using heat.

Does your recycling and reprocessing business need a permit, licence or exemption?

If you store, handle, transport, treat, recover, reuse or recycle waste plastics, you must hold a waste management licence or an exemption and you must meet your requirements under the duty of care.

Your waste responsibilities

If your business is in Northern Ireland or Scotland you can use the toolkit designed for each country to help you structure a management plan to control your business' environmental impacts.

For further information, see our management toolkits.

Northern Ireland environmental management toolkit

Scotland environmental management toolkit

Your business may need to comply with packaging regulations.

Packaging

Hazardous/special waste

You will need to treat some metals as hazardous/special waste, for example metal in waste oil filters, spent battery casings or mercury in fluorescent tubes.

Hazardous / special waste

Oil recycling

You must treat hazardous/special waste metals in designated, signed, bunded treatment areas. You must keep hazardous/special waste separate from all other materials. You should clean and treat metals that are contaminated with hazardous/special waste such as grease, engine oil, coolant or similar chemicals before you store them. This reduces the risk of cross contamination and pollution. Use secondary containment systems or bunds to contain any spills or contaminated run-off from metals cleaning.

Pollution Prevention Guideline (PPG) 2 contains guidance on bunding and storage.

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.

Your supplier may take back containers to reuse or recycle them.

Discharges

In Northern Ireland you must have a discharge consent, groundwater authorisation or a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit before you discharge anything other than clean uncontaminated water to the environment. This includes sewage, trade effluent or contaminated surface run-off.

NIEA: Regulation of water discharges

In Scotland you must comply with the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) when making discharges. Some discharges of water run-off to surface water and groundwater are authorised if you comply with the general binding rules (GBR). In such cases, you do not need to apply for authorisation from SEPA. For other discharges you may need to register or get a licence.

SEPA: CAR – A practical guide (Adobe PDF - 562KB)

You must comply with all the conditions of your authorisation, permit or consent.

Solvents

If you use solvents, chemical baths or degreasers to clean metals prior to recycling, you must follow regulations on solvent emissions. You should consider using water based alternatives.

Solvent emissions

Chemical recycling for recycling and reprocessing businesses

Storage and handling

Store metals for recycling on hard, waterproof surfaces, under cover and as far away as possible from watercourses. Do not store metals on bare earth. This could allow contaminants such as dirt, grease or rust to pollute land and watercourses, for example if rust from metals was washed into a stream.

Separate metals to avoid contamination. For example store oily industrial scrap metals away from clean food packaging cans.

Waste storage and transport

Metal cutting

If you use machinery to shear, cut, compact or bale metals into smaller chunks for reprocessing, use designated processing areas and mesh screens. This prevents metals,dust and sparks from escaping and causing pollution.

Metal cutting machinery is noisy, and can create both smoke and odours. Your activities must not create a nuisance for your neighbours or the local commmunity.

Dust

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Air pollution from furnaces, boilers and bonfires

You will probably produce sparks when you cut metals. Only cut metals in no smoking areas with fire extinguishers, and away from flammable materials such as paper or tyres.

Further information

NetRegs business sector guidance: All metals production and processing

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation

British Metals Recycling Associations (BMRA)

Zero Waste Scotland: Business resource centre

What you must do

You can recycle concrete and use it as aggregate. Surplus or broken-out concrete will be waste if you discard it, intend to discard it or are required to discard it for any reason. As waste, the duty of care will apply to it.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you transport concrete and other materials off your site for crushing, you must make sure that you have the appropriate waste transfer documentation.

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Reprocessing concrete into usable material is a form of waste treatment and you may need a waste management licence ,a pollution, prevention and control (PPC) permit or an exemption.

If you crush, grind or reduce the size of concrete materials a paragraph 24 exemption may be relevant to you.

NIEA: Paragraph 24 exemption - crushing, grinding or other size reduction of waste bricks, tiles or concrete

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

If you recover or dispose of waste at the place where it is produced, as an integral part of the process, a paragraph 26 exemption may be relevant to you. This applies to facilities that produce semi-dry precast concrete products and that recycle aggregate within the process.

You must register this exemption with your environmental regulator.

NIEA: Paragraph 26 exemption - recovery of waste as an integral part of the process that produces it

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

You must still ensure that your activity does not:

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

If concrete is to be crushed at a processing plant on-site, you must ensure that the crushing plant has a:

  • PPC Part C permit from the local council in Northern Ireland
  • PPC Part B permit from SEPA in Scotland.

Defra: Process Guidance Note 3/16 (04) – Mobile Crushing and Screening (Adobe PDF - 430 KB) (Scotland)

NIEA: GBN 3/3 – Mineral Processes (Crushing and Screening of Rock) (Adobe PDF - 132 KB)

Pollution prevention and control permits

Good practice

The Wrap Aggregates Programme promotes sustainable use of aggregates. It reduces the demand for primary aggregates by encouraging greater use of recycled and secondary aggregates.

Wrap Aggregates Programme

Resource Efficient Scotland: Maximising re-use on construction sites

Northern Ireland

The NIEA in association with the EA and WRAP have revised the end of waste Quality Protocol (October 2013) for the production of aggregates from inert waste. It reflects the latest approved industry standards, including factory production control, and incorporates other improvements and clarifications to make it easier for producers and users to ensure full compliance with the end of waste criteria.

WRAP: Aggregates from inert waste

NIEA: Construction and Demolition Waste and Recycled Concrete

You can reduce your operating costs by minimising the amount of waste that you produce. When you have done everything you can to reduce the quantity of waste that you produce, investigate whether your waste can be reused or recycled rather than disposing of it to landfill or incinerator.

You must comply with your duty of care for waste. Materials that you are going to recycle are still considered to be waste materials until they are fully recovered.

Your waste responsibilities

Good practice

Speak to your suppliers about providing materials in containers and packaging that can be returned to them for reuse.

Look at your process and see if you can reduce the amount of materials that you use.

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

Waste materials from CD and DVD production that you can recycle include:

  • sprues and other polycarbonate wastes from the injection moulding process
  • unmetallised disks
  • scrap nickel
  • ascrapaluminium
  • plastics
  • cardboard and other packaging materials.

You can find businesses that will recycle your waste by contacting your local council or by searching the waste directory.

Contact your local council

Find your nearest waste site

You can often reuse materials within the process, or use them as an input to another process. For example, you can use cullet as a raw material in glass manufacture.

What you must do

For some processes involving cullet recovery and reuse, you will need a permit, licence or exemption.

You may qualify for an exemption if you recover or dispose of waste cullet at the place where it is produced. This is only if the waste was generated from an integral part of the production process.

You may also qualify for an exemption if you:

  • use cullet in your process, and the total quantity of cullet used does not exceed 600,000 tonnes in any period of 12 months
  • sort, crush or wash cullet to be reused, and the total quantity of cullet you deal with per week does not exceed 1,000 tonnes, or
  • store cullet to be used in glass manufacture at the same site and the total amount you store at any time does not exceed 5,000 tonnes.

You must register this exemption with your environmental regulator.

You must still ensure that your activity does not:

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

Waste management licences

Good practice

As far as possible, reclaim and reuse cullet within the production process.

If you manufacture lead glass, increasing the amount of cullet you recycle within the process might reduce the amount of hazardous/special waste you produce.

Hazardous / special waste

Straw and stubble burning presents a fire risk to:

  • farm buildings, crops and machinery
  • the countryside – burning can damage hedgerows and trees and disturb or kill wildlife
  • the public – smoke can cause nuisance to nearby houses and businesses and be a hazard to road traffic.

Burning straw and stubble deprives the soil of valuable organic material. It also releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

What you must do

In Northern Ireland burning straw or stubble in the open on the farm is strongly discouraged. If you have no other alternative then you will be allowed to burn if you have registered an exemption with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and follow the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) guidelines.

NIEA: Agricultural exemptions guidance (Adobe PDF 471KB)

In Scotland you may burn stubble and straw. But burning is strongly discouraged by the environmental regulators.

Even if straw and stubble burning is allowed you must not emit dark smoke. Dark smoke is finely divided particles of matter suspended in the air as a visible cloud.

Preventing air pollution

Good practice

You should bale and cart straw from fields or chop the straw and plough it into the soil before establishing the next crop.

If burning of stubble and straw is permitted, you should consult the codes of good agricultural practice for more information on how to safely burn crop residues.

In Northern Ireland, see section 11.2 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

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

In Scotland, see section 13.26 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)

This guidance is relevant if you treat, recycle or export waste batteries or accumulators or want to operate a battery compliance scheme (BCS).

There are three categories of waste batteries:

  • automotive (vehicle) batteries
  • industrial batteries
  • portable batteries.

What you must do

If you collect, treat or recycle waste batteries you must comply with new laws that came into force on 5 May 2009.

You must not dispose of waste industrial or automotive batteries in a landfill or by incineration.

Check if you need approval

If you want to operate a BCS to collect, treat and recycle waste portable batteries on behalf of battery producers, you must apply to your regulator for approval. If you treat, recycle or export waste batteries, you must apply to your regulator for approval.

For further information, see our guidance on the battery regulations.

Further Information on treating and recycling waste batteries

Batteries

EU Batteries Directive

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS): Batteries and accumulators

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA): Batteries

SEPA: Batteries

This guidance is relevant if you treat or recycle end-of-life vehicles, including old cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles.

These vehicles must be depolluted before you can recycle them. Depollution involves the safe removal of potentially dangerous components, including batteries and hydraulic fluids.

What you must do

Check if you need an approval, permit or licence

You can only carry out work on end-of-life vehicles if you are a licensed authorised treatment facility (ATF).

If you carry out work on end-of-life vehicles, you must have a waste management licence. You must also comply with your waste responsibilities.

Further information on treating and recycling waste vehicles

Guidance for sites that accept waste motor vehicles

This guidance is relevant if you operate a producer compliance scheme or your business treats, recovers or exports waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

What you must do

Check if you need approval

If you want to operate a producer compliance scheme to collect, treat and recycle WEEE on behalf of WEEE producers you must apply to your regulator for approval.

If you treat, recycle, recover, reprocess or export WEEE, you must apply to your regulator for approval.

For further information, see our guidance on WEEE

SEPA has produced guidance on how the waste regulations apply to reuse of goods.

SEPA: Reuse Activities and Waste Regulation

Further information on treating and recycling WEEE

GOV.UK: WEEE Regulations

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA): Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

SEPA: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

This guidance is relevant if your business treats hazardous / special waste.

If waste has hazardous properties that may make it harmful to human health or the environment it is:

  • hazardous waste in Northern Ireland
  • special waste in Scotland.

This includes a wide variety of waste, such as asbestos, fluorescent light tubes and lead acid batteries.

Hazardous/special waste

What you must do

Check if you need a permit or licence

If you treat hazardous/special waste, you must have a pollution prevent and control (PPC) permit or waste management licence.

You must comply with the conditions in your permit or licence, including any conditions about treating hazardous/special waste, or you can be fined or sent to prison.

Does your waste or sewage business need a permit, licence or exemption?

If your business handles refrigeration equipment that contains f-gases or ozone depleting substances you must transfer the equipment to a site that has an appropriate licence or be licensed by your environmental regulator to treat this type of waste.

For further information, see our guidance on f-gases, guidance on ozone depleting substances and waste carriers.

Classify and code hazardous / special waste

You must classify the waste before you treat it.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency: The classification of hazardous waste

SEPA: Definition and classification of hazardous/special waste

Choose appropriate treatment techniques

Choose treatment techniques that:

  • use the best available techniques for the waste streams you receive
  • are effective in reducing hazards
  • make hazardous waste suitable for recovery or disposal.

You can only pre-mix hazardous/special waste with non-hazardous/special waste prior to treatment if you have a permit and your regulator has agreed that it is necessary - for example, to make it easier to handle or improve safety during recovery. You must not mix hazardous/special waste with non-hazardous/special waste to dilute it or hide its hazardous components.

If you pre-treat hazardous/special waste for disposal at a hazardous landfill site, you must take into account the limit values set by the landfill site's waste acceptance criteria. If the waste exceeds the limit values of the landfill's waste acceptance criteria after treatment, you will need to treat the waste further before it can be disposed of at landfill.

SEPA has published detailed guidance on criteria for accepting waste at landfills.

SEPA: Landfill

What you must do

If you use a waste compactor you may need a waste management licence from your environmental regulator.

However, you may be able to register an exemption from having to hold a licence. This could allow you to bale, compact, crush, shred or pulverise waste at the place where it is produced. Even if you operate under an exemption, you must still ensure that your activities do not:

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

NIEA: Waste management licensing simple exemptions

NIEA: Waste management licensing complex exemptions

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

Good practice

A waste compactor is not suitable for dealing with liquids and some food wastes, so you should fully drain cartons before you compact them.

Compactors can leak polluting liquids even when you use them to compact solid waste. You should isolate their drainage from the surface water drainage system. Use rollover bunds, and drain them to the foul sewer if possible.

This guidance is relevant if your business burns waste or sewage sludge.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit, licence or registered exemption

If you burn waste or sewage sludge as a fuel or for disposal in a technical unit or mobile plant you must have a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, waste management licence or registered exemption.

You must comply with the conditions in your permit or you can be fined or sent to prison.

Permits and licences: an overview

There are special requirements for disposing of certain waste, such as animal by-products, animal carcasses and food waste.

Animal by-products and food waste

The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) applies to most waste incineration and co-incineration plants.

If the WID applies to your facility, your PPC permit will have conditions that implement the strict rules set by the WID, including:

  • process requirements, eg for delivery and receiving waste
  • operating conditions, eg residues (burn out), combustion requirements (time and temperature) and energy recovery
  • air emission limits
  • water emission limits
  • monitoring requirements.

Further information on waste incineration

Waste incineration

DAERA (Northern Ireland): The directive on the incineration of waste

Scottish Government: Guidance on the Waste Incineration (Scotland) Regulations 2003 (Adobe PDF - 700KB)

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms