Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Waste is defined as 'hazardous waste' (in Northern Ireland) or 'special waste' (in Scotland) if it is classified as 'hazardous' in the European Waste Catalogue (or List of Wastes). Generally, waste is hazardous/special if it, or the materials or substances it contains, are harmful to human health or the environment.
Almost all businesses produce some hazardous/special waste. Typical examples of this waste include waste:
Check the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) to find out if a waste is hazardous/special waste.
The EWC is a list of waste types, with six-digit codes for all types of waste. Hazardous wastes' codes are marked with an asterisk (*). In Scotland, 'hazardous waste' is called 'special waste'.
There are two kinds of hazardous waste entry in the EWC, absolute hazardous entries and mirror hazardous entries:
07 07 07* halogenated still bottoms and reaction residues A
17 05 03* Soil and stones containing dangerous substances M
Mirror hazardous entries have an alternative paired non-hazardous entry (or entries). For example:
17 05 04 soil and stones other than those mentioned in 17 05 03
And there are also Absolute Non-Hazardous entries – the waste type is always non-hazardous and they do not have a link to a mirror hazardous entry. For example
03 01 01 waste bark and cork
If you receive materials or chemicals at your site, they should be accompanied by a safety data sheet. The information on the safety data sheet can help you decide if your waste is hazardous/special, provided the chemicals have not changed due to being used or mixed with other substances.
If you are unsure whether your waste is hazardous/special, you should contact the NIEA in Northern Ireland or SEPA in Scotland, or a specialist waste management contractor.
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.
Waste Thesaurus: SEPA guidance for coding waste An alphabetical list of waste types with their corresponding EWC codes
What is hazardous/special waste?
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