Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Producing and storing hazardous/special waste

SEPA: Special waste guidance (Scotland)


Producing and storing hazardous/special waste

All businesses that produce waste have a duty of care to make sure that it is handled and stored safely. If the waste is hazardous/special, extra controls apply.

How much hazardous/special waste you can store

You do not need a waste management licence or pollution prevention and control permit if you store hazardous/special waste on the site where it was produced for up to 12 months while you wait for it to be collected. The maximum amount of hazardous/special waste you can store is:

  • 23,000 litres of liquid waste stored in a secure container
  • either 80 cubic metres (m³) of any other type of waste stored in a secure container, or 50m³ stored in a secure place.

If you cannot meet these conditions - for example if you store hazardous/special waste for longer than 12 months - you must have a waste management licence or a pollution prevention and control permit.

Environmental permits and licences – an overview

How to store hazardous/special waste

If you keep hazardous/special waste on your premises, even for a short period of time, you must:

  • ensure that it is stored safely and securely to prevent pollution
  • ensure that it is packaged and labelled correctly
  • keep the different types of hazardous/special waste separate
  • keep hazardous /special and non-hazardous waste separate
  • keep liquid hazardous/special waste in a dedicated area, with a bund or barrier to contain spills and leaks
  • regularly check storage areas for leaks, deteriorating containers or other potential risks
  • display written instructions for storing and disposing of each type of hazardous/special waste
  • maintain an inventory of the hazardous/special wastes kept on your premises, and where they are stored - this will help the emergency services to deal with any incident effectively and safely.

You must assess risks posed by any hazardous substances that you store on your site, including hazardous/special waste, and take steps to control those risks.

Train your staff

Make sure your staff are properly trained to deal with spills of the hazardous materials that you store on your premises. This should include instructions on what to do if there is a spill, the type of personal protection equipment required and how to correctly dispose of contaminated clean-up materials. See Pollution Prevention Guideline 21 (PPG 21).

PPG 21: Pollution incident response planning

Further information

NIEA: Hazardous waste guidance (Northern Ireland)

SEPA: Special waste guidance (Scotland)

Environmental permits and licences – an overview

In this guideline

What is hazardous/special waste?

Producing and storing hazardous/special waste

Moving and transferring hazardous/special waste

Treating and disposing of hazardous/special waste

Reducing your hazardous/special waste

Hazardous/special waste environmental legislation

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