Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste treatment processes

More guidance on waste treatment processes in alphabetical order from A to O

Additional resources


If you treat or are thinking of treating your biodegradable waste using anaerobic digestion this guidance is for you:

Read our guidance on Anaerobic digestion >>>


Balers, compactors, crumbers, granulators and shredders reduce the volume of materials, making them easier, safer, and more cost effective to transport, recycle or reprocess.

If you use balers, compactors, crumbers, granulators or shredders to treat waste then make sure you read our guidance on Balers, compactors, crumbers, granulators and shredders for waste >>>

This guidance is for recycling businesses that recycle batteries, click the link below to read:

Battery recycling >>>


Burning waste materials is a type of waste disposal.

For details on what you must do read our guidance on 'Burning construction and demolition waste' >>>

The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) is a European law which aims to prevent or limit the negative effects of waste incineration on the environment. If you burn solid or liquid waste then the WID is likely to apply to you.

If you operate a combustion unit that burns waste or recovered oils, including waste vegetable oils, there are specific rules you must follow.

Waste incineration

Chemicals are generally treated, recovered or reused as part of a business' manufacturing processes, or they are sent to specialist recycling businesses for recycling, incineration or disposal. This guidance is for businesses that recycle or reprocess chemicals.

Read the guidance here: Chemical recycling for recycling and reprocessing businesses >>>

Chipping wood and other plant material is a type of waste treatment.

Find out what you need to do to comply with the Regulations by reading our guide on Chipping wood & other plant material.

Composting is the biological decomposition of biodegradable waste. It is an important waste treatment method and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill. Composting done in a controlled way produces a safe material that can be used to improve land.

Read our guidance on composting here.

Catering waste

You can produce compost or biogas from catering waste collected from canteens and dining areas as long as the process complies with the requirements of the Animal By-Products Regulations. You must follow certain procedures, making this technically more difficult than composting green waste. Setting up biogas production involves a large capital expenditure.

Read our composting catering waste guidance to learn more.

Many businesses and offices use small composters to compost biodegradable material such as apple cores and tea bags.

Some businesses have extensive grounds, sometimes including sports facilities. Maintenance of these areas can produce large quantities of green waste in the form of grass cuttings, shrub and hedge clippings and wood from tree surgery and felling. You can re-use much of this material on your grounds if you shred or compost it.

Read our guidance on composting green waste to learn more >>>

Composting produces a natural liquid residue (leachate) which can be highly polluting.

Read our guidance on composting leachate to learn more.

Site-gained concrete, bricks, tiles or other materials can be crushed and reused as sub-base or fill. 

Read our guidance on crushing bricks, tiles, concrete and other materials to learn more.

You may be able to reuse waste tiles or other ceramics within your production process, or use them as an input to another process. For example, you can use unrecoverable fired ceramic waste from pottery production as a raw material in tile manufacture.

Read our guidance on crushing or grinding waste tiles or other ceramics to learn more >>>

You can treat waste using thermal and non-thermal technology to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and produce heat, gas or electricity.

Energy-from-waste processes may produce waste by-products that need to be disposed of at landfill, such as ash or digestate.

Read our guidance on energy-from-waste at waste or sewage sites to learn more >>>

Your business may store waste oil on site, before it is collected by a waste contractor. Waste catering oils can be reprocessed into biofuels such as biodiesel.

Read our guidance on oil recycling to learn more >>>

Plastics include plastic bottles, films, industrial and agricultural drums and containers, and plastic packaging. Different grades of plastics are used for different applications, and you must recycle them separately.

Recycling businesses collect, process and store plastics, and transport plastics to reprocessors for remoulding or compounding. Some recycling businesses remould or compound plastics themselves.

Read our guidance on Plastic recycling to learn more >>>

Your business may produce waste electrical and electronic equipment, paper, glass, plastics, metals, or packaging, all or most of which can be recycled.

Read our guidance on recycling your healthcare business waste to learn more >>>

You must follow certain regulations for recycling some specific metals.

Read our guidance on recycle & reprocessing scrap metals to learn more >>>

You can often reuse materials within the process, or use them as an input to another process. For example, you can use cullet as a raw material in glass manufacture.

Read our guidance on Reusing waste cullet in glass manufacture to learn more>>>

Straw and stubble burning presents a fire risk to:

  • farm buildings, crops and machinery
  • the countryside – burning can damage hedgerows and trees and disturb or kill wildlife
  • the public – smoke can cause nuisance to nearby houses and businesses and be a hazard to road traffic.

Burning straw and stubble deprives the soil of valuable organic material. It also releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Read our guidance on Straw & stubble burning to learn more >>>

This guidance is relevant if you treat, recycle or export waste batteries or accumulators or want to operate a battery compliance scheme (BCS).

There are three categories of waste batteries:

  • automotive (vehicle) batteries
  • industrial batteries
  • portable batteries.

Read our guidance on Treating & recycling waste batteries to learn more >>>

This guidance is relevant if you treat or recycle end-of-life vehicles, including old cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles.

Read our guidance on Treating & recycling waste vehicles to learn more >>>

This guidance is relevant if you operate a producer compliance scheme or your business treats, recovers or exports waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Read our guidance on Treating & recycling Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) to learn more >>>

This guidance is relevant if your business treats hazardous / special waste.

Read our guidance on Treating hazardous / special waste to learn more >>>

This guidance is relevant if your business burns waste or sewage sludge.


Read our guidance on Waste incineration plant operated by waste or sewage businesses to learn more >>>

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