Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Choosing a waste management option

Choosing a waste management option

You can save money if you manage your waste well and choose the best waste management options for your business.

You need to choose the best waste management options for dealing with each type of waste your business produces.


Waste management hierarchy

You should follow the waste management hierarchy when choosing a waste option.

The waste hierarchy can help you to choose the least environmentally damaging option:

  • Reduce - the most cost-effective option is to cut the amount of waste you produce in the first place. See the page in this guideline: Reducing waste
  • Reuse - products and materials can be reused by your own business or another organisation. See the page in this guideline: Reusing waste
  • Recycle and compost - these options ensure that benefit is still gained from goods and materials that have reached the end of their useful life. See the pages in this guideline: Treating and composting biodegradable waste, and Recycling waste.
  • Recover energy - some facilities use waste to generate energy or produce biofuel. See the page in this guideline: Recovering energy and producing fuel from waste
  • Dispose - the least sustainable option is to bury waste at landfill sites or burn it without recovering energy, as these do not lead to any benefit from the waste. See the page in this guideline: Disposing of waste.

In Northern Ireland you must declare on your waste transfer note or hazardous waste consignment note that you have applied the waste management hierarchy. For information about waste transfer and consignment notes:

Duty of Care - your waste responsibilities

Hazardous/special waste

When choosing a waste option for your business, you should consider:

  • what waste facilities are available near your business premises
  • the type of waste you have to dispose of
  • the cost or profit involved in dealing with your waste

You should select the best waste management option available as part of a co-ordinated plan to improve the way you deal with waste. Whichever waste management options you choose, you must comply with waste legislation.


Further information

NIEA: Waste hierarchy information

SEPA: Zero Waste

Northern Ireland: Wrap waste hierarchy tool

Resource Efficient Scotland

Find your nearest waste site

Zerro Waste Scotland has produced a series of free, online training modules for SMEs. The training will help develop the skills and knowledge needed to put in place effective resource efficiency measures in your business. They deal with energy, waste and water efficiency. You can work through them at your own speed, choosing the modules that are relevant to your business.

ZWS: Green Champions Training

The NIEA has produced a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

NIEA: Duty of Care - a short guide

The NIEA has produced a guidance that explains the reuse of materials, and when waste legislation does not apply.

NIEA: Regulatory Position Statement – Reuse of Material

SEPA has produced guidance on how the waste regulations apply to reuse of goods.

SEPA: Reuse Activities and Waste Regulation

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has produced detailed guidance for the construction sector. This is free to download.

CECA: Waste classification and permitting in construction

In this guideline

Business benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling waste

Choosing a waste management option

Reducing waste

Reusing waste

Recycling waste

Treating and composting biodegradable waste

Recovering energy and producing fuel from waste

Disposing of waste

Separating and storing waste

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms