Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Treating hazardous / special waste

Treating 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

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.



  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Guidance from your environmental regulator

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  • 9 NEW GPPs (Guidance for Pollution Prevention) available now

    The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics

  • New guidance

    New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects


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