Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Alternatives to burning waste

When you burn waste you are losing a potential resource and you also risk causing air, land and water pollution. You should find alternative methods of waste management wherever possible.

If you burn waste on your site you may need a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a registered waste exemption. You must have the correct permissions in place before you start any burning activities. See the page in this guideline: Controls on burning waste in the open

When considering your waste management options you should follow the waste hierarchy - prevention, preparing for reuse, recycling, other recovery and, finally, disposal.

Better alternatives to burning your waste in the open (in order of preference) are to:

  • redesign your processes to reduce or eliminate waste production
  • implement a waste minimisation programme
  • reuse and recycle materials in-house
  • send waste for recovery rather than for disposal, eg oils and solvents
  • compost biodegradable wastes
  • burn your waste in an authorised waste incineration plant or boiler that produces energy from the waste
  • burn your waste in an authorised waste incineration plant, furnace or boiler
  • dispose of your waste at an authorised landfill site

Further information

WRAP resource efficiency helpline (UK) – 0808 100 2040

Resource Efficient Scotland Helpline - 0808 808 2268

In this Guideline

Alternatives to burning waste

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms