Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Treating hazardous / special waste

Treating hazardous / special waste

If waste has hazardous properties that may make it harmful to human health or the environment it is:

  • hazardous waste in Northern Ireland
  • special waste in Scotland.

This includes a wide variety of waste, such as asbestos, fluorescent light tubes and lead acid batteries.

Hazardous/special waste

What you must do

Check if you need a permit or licence

If you treat hazardous/special waste, you must have a pollution prevent and control (PPC) permit or waste management licence.

You must comply with the conditions in your permit or licence, including any conditions about treating hazardous/special waste, or you can be fined or sent to prison.

Does your waste or sewage business need a permit, licence or exemption?

If your business handles refrigeration equipment that contains f-gases or ozone depleting substances you must transfer the equipment to a site that has an appropriate licence or be licensed by your environmental regulator to treat this type of waste.

For further information, see our guidance on f-gases, guidance on ozone depleting substances and waste carriers.

Classify and code hazardous / special waste

You must classify the waste before you treat it.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency: The classification of hazardous waste

SEPA: Definition and classification of hazardous/special waste

Choose appropriate treatment techniques

Choose treatment techniques that:

  • use the best available techniques for the waste streams you receive
  • are effective in reducing hazards
  • make hazardous waste suitable for recovery or disposal.

You can only pre-mix hazardous/special waste with non-hazardous/special waste prior to treatment if you have a permit and your regulator has agreed that it is necessary - for example, to make it easier to handle or improve safety during recovery. You must not mix hazardous/special waste with non-hazardous/special waste to dilute it or hide its hazardous components.

If you pre-treat hazardous/special waste for disposal at a hazardous landfill site, you must take into account the limit values set by the landfill site's waste acceptance criteria. If the waste exceeds the limit values of the landfill's waste acceptance criteria after treatment, you will need to treat the waste further before it can be disposed of at landfill.

SEPA has published detailed guidance on criteria for accepting waste at landfills.

SEPA: Landfill

Read about More waste treatment processes on NetRegs

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