Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Reducing your hazardous/special waste

SEPA: Special waste guidance (Scotland)


Reducing your hazardous/special waste

It is expensive to dispose of hazardous/special waste, and it is likely to become more costly in the future. It therefore makes sound business sense to reduce the amount of hazardous/special waste your business produces. This can often be done at relatively little or even no extra cost.

You might consider the following:

  • Choose non-hazardous or less hazardous alternatives for materials or components. Even small reductions in your use of hazardous materials can make a big impact on your waste management costs.
  • Improve the efficiency of your processes to reduce the quantity of materials that you use and cut down on waste.
  • Introduce more effective quality control procedures to reduce the number of defective products that you make and have to throw away.
  • Minimise the need for cleaning equipment. Some cleaning is necessary, but better working practices can reduce both the frequency and the extent of cleaning, reducing the amount of potentially contaminating effluents that you produce.
  • Recover materials that are used and discarded. Some of these may be reused on site, others can be sent off site for recycling, treatment or recovery. It is important to investigate this, and where necessary discuss with an outside contractor, before you make changes to your existing processes. See our guideline: Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste
  • Change the design of your products or processes to eliminate the use of hazardous materials. You will also save money because you will not need to use a specialist disposal regime. See our guideline: Eco-design and eco-labeling of energy related products
  • Separate your waste to prevent contamination. Contamination can create larger volumes of hazardous/special waste.

To find the best way of reducing the amount of hazardous/special waste you produce, talk to your material and component suppliers, get advice from your trade association, look at similar businesses or contact your environmental regulator (NIEA in Northern Ireland, or in Scotland your local SEPA office)

Contact your enviromental regulator

Further Information

NIEA: Hazardous waste guidance (Northern Ireland)

In Northern Ireland, from the 1st January 2020 all ‘uncleaned heating oil tanks, i.e. contaminated with visible residues of kerosene, will be deemed hazardous waste.

NIEA: Guidance on the management of waste domestic heating oil tanks.

SEPA: Special waste guidance (Scotland)

Find licensed waste sites to recycle or dispose of business waste in your area

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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