Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Managing waste materials

Managing waste materials guidance - a number of different materials and how they can be dealt with, safely and legally.

Additional resources


This guidance is for staff who operate student halls of residence, residential schools, flats or other accommodation for those attending educational courses.

Read more about accommodation waste here >>>

This guidance is for businesses who deal with agricultural wastes. Your business will produce waste and you have a responsibility to ensure that you produce, store, transport and dispose of it without harming the environment. This is called your duty of care.

In the past, agricultural waste has not been covered by general waste controls. However, the same regulations that apply to commercial and industrial waste now also apply to agricultural waste.

Manure and slurry are not considered waste when used as a fertiliser on farms. There are, however, a range of environmental issues that you should be aware of.

Read more about agricultural waste here >>>

Anatomical waste includes:

  • body parts
  • organs
  • blood bags and blood preserves.

Read our full guide on anatomical waste here >>>


The Animal By-Products Regulations are aimed at protecting human and animal health and the environment.

They contain rules for the collection, storage, handling, processing, use and disposal of animal by-products. They also control the marketing, export and transit of animal by-products and products derived from them.

Read more about animal by-products from laboratories

How to deal with waste ceramics materials.

>> read more

If your business prepares or serves food in any way, then this guidance is for you.

Canteen wastes come from a wide variety of different businesses >> more information

Disposal of animal carcasses

What you must do

You must not normally bury animal carcasses or parts of animal carcasses on your farm.

You may only bury animal carcasses in very limited circumstances: for emergency disease control or if you are located in areas designated as 'remote areas' in the Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR).

Disposing of animal carcasses

Check you are authorised

In Northern Ireland, you may only bury animal carcasses if you have permission from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Burial or burning of fallen stock is permitted in areas designated as ‘remote’. The ‘remote areas’ in Northern Ireland are Rathlin Island and Copeland Islands.

NIEA: Fallen Stock Guidance

In Scotland, you can only bury animal carcasses:

  • on farms that are in the designated 'remote areas', and
  • if an alternative approved disposal route is not available.

Most of the Highlands and islands in Scotland are defined as 'remote areas'.

Scottish Government: Map showing 'remote areas' (Adobe PDF - 1.89MB)

Authorised burial

If you are authorised to bury carcasses, you must:

  • Consult your environmental regulator to discuss the best location for your disposal sites.
  • Ask your environmental regulator whether you need to apply for a groundwater authorisation (Northern Ireland) or an authorisation under the Controlled Activities Regulations (Scotland).
  • Never dispose of carcasses in or near watercourses, boreholes or springs. You may be committing a pollution offence if you allow any polluting matter to enter surface waters or groundwater.
  • Keep a written or electronic record of your disposal sites for at least two years.

Contact your environmental regulator

Good practice

If you are authorised to bury carcasses and have complied with all conditions required in your authorisation, you will still need to ensure that:

  • burial sites are at least 250m from any well, borehole or spring that supplies drinking water or water for use in a farm dairy
  • in Scotland, burial sites are at least 50m from any watercourse and at least 10m from any field drain
  • there is at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of any burial pit and 1m of soil to cover the carcasses
  • there is no standing water at the bottom of the hole when you first dig it
  • you do not leave pits open or carcasses unburied as dogs, foxes and other scavengers could gain access to them.

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide further information for burying carcasses.

SEE ALSO: Animal by-products regulations, Carcass incineration


This guidance is relevant if you need to dispose of dead animals.

There are different requirements for disposing of farmed animal carcasses and wild animal carcasses.

For further information read guidance Disposing of animal carcasses



This guidance is relevant if you have to burn dead animals on your land. For example, you may have an incinerator, or you may need to burn carcasses if there is a disease outbreak.

>> read our guidance

What you must do

You may need a waste management licence or to register an exemption to reprocess clay off-cuts into usable material, either at your plant or at another site.

An exemption allows you to recover or dispose of waste at the place where it is produced. This is only if the waste was generated from an integral part of the production process.

You must register this exemption with your environmental regulator.

You must still ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • cause a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance in terms of noise, dust, fumes, smoke or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

Waste management licences

Clinical waste is the term used to describe waste produced from healthcare and similar activities that may pose a risk of infection.

>> Find out about managing clinical waste

This guidance is relevant if you offer collection services for your customers' waste such as take back schemes for batteries or WEEE

>> Read or guidance for managing customers waste

Any waste that is contaminated by cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines should be classed as cytotoxic and cytostatic waste.

>> read more about what you must do to manage this waste safely

What to do with materials and structures that demolition work might come across.

>>Read our guidance for demolition wastes


Waste dental amalgam includes:

  • unwanted amalgam
  • old fillings
  • teeth with fillings
  • grindings
  • surplus amalgam which cannot be reused
  • residues containing amalgam, eg from separators
  • packaging such as capsules containing residues.

>> Read our guidance on disposal of dental amalgam

What to do if you have a dead animal, for example a horse or a dog.

>>Read our guidance on dealing with a dead animal

You must have a licence before you can deposit substances or articles in the sea:


>> read our guidance on what can and can't be deposited in the sea.

Prevent ocean pollution, and manage your waste to maximise high quality recycling

>> Read our guidance on disposing of waste in ports

Domestic type waste or mixed municipal waste from healthcare premises is similar to waste from domestic households.

>> Read our guidance on disposal of domestic type waste from healthcare premises

If you dispose of dead fish or shellfish or animal waste from culling or on-site processing of fish or shellfish:


>> Read our guidance on disposing of fish waste

This guidance is for businesses that remove sewage and sewage sludge from cesspools, septic tanks and package treatment plants.


>> Read our guidance on dealing with sewage sludge


This guidance is relevant if you use batteries in your retail or wholesale business, and have to dispose of your own waste batteries.


>> Read our guidance on disposing of waste batteries

Read our guidance on dealing with Horse manure

Pharmaceutical waste includes:

  • waste medicines
  • packaging contaminated with medicines
  • items used to handle and administer medicines, eg medicine-contaminated syringe bodies.

>> Read our guidance: Pharmaceutical waste

Waste tyres cannot be disposed of in landfill sites.

>>Read our guidance on the disposal of used tyres

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