The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) List of Wastes is a standardised way of describing waste. The EWC is used when completing:

  • waste data returns,
  • waste transfer notes, and
  • hazardous/special waste consignment notes.

What is the EWC?

The EWC is a list of waste types which categorises wastes based on a combination of what they are, and the process or activity that produces them.

The EWC is divided into 20 chapters. Waste types are assigned a six-digit code:

  • The first two digits are the chapter
  • The next two are the sub-chapter
  • the last two are the specific to the waste type

Hazardous/special wastes are identified using an asterisk (*).

Why use EWC codes?

The use of EWC codes to describe waste is a legal requirement of the Duty of Care for waste which requires the holder of waste to take all reasonable steps to ensure that waste is described in a way that permits its safe handling and management.

Find the EWC code for my waste type

SEPA has produced an alphabetical list of waste types with their relevant EWC codes. The Waste Thesaurus: SEPA guidance for coding waste is a useful tool to identify the correct EWC code for your waste type.

If you can’t find a code for your waste check the Guidance on classification and assessment of waste.


NetRegs now has an e-course that takes you through the process of identifying the correct EWC code for your waste.
NetRegs e-learning

Further information

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