Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

European Waste Catalogue (EWC) - waste codes

European Waste Catalogue (EWC) - waste codes

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-learning course that takes you through the process of identifying the correct EWC code for your waste.

NetRegs e-learning

Useful information

Using consignment notes for Hazardous/special waste

SEPA: Guidance on using the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) to code waste

DAERA: Waste returns guidance document

NetRegs: Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 997KB)

In this Guideline

What is waste?

What is the duty of care for waste?

New waste duties for businesses in Northern Ireland

New waste duties for businesses in Scotland

Who can deal with your waste

Waste Transfer Notes and how to complete them

European Waste Catalogue (EWC) - waste codes

Waste storage

Controls on specific types of waste

Landfill waste

Carrying out waste management activities yourself

Duty of Care for Waste Legislation

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