Hazardous Waste

Are you affected?

Hazardous waste is defined by the List of Wastes/European Waste Catalogue where wastes considered to be hazardous are marked with an asterisk. It includes things that you would naturally expect to be hazardous – such a certain sludges or chemical waste from refining processes. But it also includes waste that arises in every day business activity. These include

  • Fluorescent tubes (see EA Guidance Note)
  • Cathode ray tube televisions and monitors
  • LCD screens and laptops
  • CFC containing fridges and freezers
  • Certain types of batteries
  • Mineral oil or oil soaked rags and cleaners

If your business premises produces this type of waste, you CANNOT put it in the general waste bin and must have it separately collected under Hazardous Waste consignment procedures.

If your site is in Wales and generates >500kgs of hazardous waste per year, you must register as a hazardous waste producer to get a premises code for use on consignment notes.


The EA has a public register where you can look up a company’s premises code if they are registered.


The EA has two (July 2013) Guides for household and small business waste for a quick determination whether something is hazardous waste. But for more complex wastes and for the new Hazard Property codes, you need to refer to WM3 (applicable from 1 July 2015) which defines hazardous waste in much more detail and gives all the relevant thresholds..

An EA has produced a list of Guides for Hazardous Waste Management. These are no longer listed on GOV.UK but can be helpful. We have added in the GOV.UK guide on the new consignment notes below the previous Guidance below.

What is Hazardous Waste – Guide for Small Businesses – HWR01A (July 13)
What is Hazardous Waste – Guide for households – HWR01B (July 2013)
How to register your premises (Wales only)
Old (more comprehensive) Consignment Note completion guide
New Consignment Note completion guidance (GOV.UK)
Consignment Note Guide – rejected consignments and other movements – HWR03b
Consignee Returns – HWR04a (superceded in England from 1 Apr 16 by GOV.UK guidance to take account of removal of premises code)
Consignee Returns – XML Schema Guide – HWR04b
Completing the Hazardous Waste Return
Record Keeping – HWR05 (changed as of April 2011)
Classification and Coding of Wastes from Treatment Facilities – HWR06
Mobile Services – HWR07
How to classify waste oils and waste containing oil – HWR08
Classification of electronic displays (removed from EA site in GOV.UK move)
Guidance for Enforcement and Prosecution Policy

The EA also publish additional Guidance on various issues – such as the length of time between collection and deposit at a consignee –  here.

The EA recently (Feb 2018) updated Guidance on the movement of small quantities of hazardous waste produced by mobile engineers. The Diffuse Network Infrastructure Guidance applies to situations such as the changing of street lamps, maintaining railway track or phone exchanges etc and allows the use of a summary consignment note but only where specific conditions are met.

Unfortunately, this only applies to sites that classify as Diffuse Network sites. For mobile maintenance engineers who might remove small quantities of hazardous waste from each site, the situation seems variable between administrations.

The EA/NRW’s position is that there must be a consignment note for every movement and that the engineers should dispose of the waste ‘promptly and without undue delay’, normally within 24 hours. (half way down this page)

NIEA’s position is that consignment notes are not expected on the initial movement, just from the first point of storage.

SEPA’s position is awaited.

The classification of packaging that has contained hazardous materials is often extremely confusing. This Guidance – produced by a number of organisations and supported by the Agencies – was published in July 2017. In essence, ’empty’ packaging containing residues is classed as hazardous packaging (15 01 10*), whilst packaging containing more than residues is classed by the EWC code of the contents.

Guidance on the storage of hazardous waste is given on the Gov.uk website, but essentially, if you keep hazardous waste on your premises, even for a short period of time, you must:

  • ensure that it is stored safely and securely to prevent pollution
  • ensure that it is packaged and labelled correctly
  • keep different types of hazardous waste separate
  • keep hazardous and non-hazardous waste separate
  • keep liquid hazardous waste in a dedicated area, with a bund or barrier to contain spills and leaks
  • regularly check storage areas for leaks, deteriorating containers or other potential risks
  • display written instructions for storing and disposing of each type of hazardous waste
  • maintain an inventory of the hazardous wastes kept on your premises, and where they are stored – this will help the emergency services to deal with any incident effectively and safely
  • There is a storage limit of 12 months for any waste produced on site including hazardous waste (NWFD2)

You must assess risks posed by any hazardous substances that you store on your site, including hazardous waste, and take steps to control those risks.

The movement of Hazardous Waste between two sites – regardless of whether the sites belong to the same business or the waste is owned by the carrier – must be accompanied by a Consignment Note.

For England and Wales, no pre-notification is required. In Scotland and NI, a three day notification process still applies.

England and Wales now operate different Consignment Notes.

England – a modified Consignment Note is now required that has removed the premises code and requires a SIC 2007 code.

Wales – the previous Consignment Note (bottom of page) should still be used that includes the premises code and uses the SIC 2003 code.

In both cases, the Consignment Note must be used for both single and multiple consignments.

The note requires the use of Recovery and Disposal Codes and Hazard Codes.

They must contain the correct EWC codes and a valid SIC code (2007 for England, 2003 for Wales).

And where they are used for waste that must be transported under Carriage of Dangerous Goods, they must show the UN Code(s).

If you receive Hazardous Waste, you are a Consignee. In England and Wales, consignees have to submit quarterly Consignee returns to the EA listing all the consignments they have received with a payment of an EA fee per consignment – £10/single consignment and £5/multiple consignment (where they are submitted electronically). Details of this process can be found in HWR04 above.

However, where the following wastes are moved under consignment notes, a special derogation has been provided where effectively, all the consignments in one quarter received at the first consignee are only counted as one consignment. These wastes are shown below ):

  • 16 05 04* aerosol air fresheners from washrooms
  • 20 01 33* dry cell portable batteries
  • 20 01 21* 16 02 13* 16 02 15* 20 01 35* fluorescent tubes and other lighting equipment
  • 16 06 01* lead acid motor vehicle batteries – applies only to consignment of 5 or fewer batteries
  • 20 01 19* pesticides (municipal)
  • 14 06 01* recovered refrigerant gases
  • 18 02 02* 18 02 05* 18 02 07* veterinary waste from farms – applies only to consignments of waste taken from the farm to a veterinary practice for storage pending collection
  • 16 01 04* un-depolluted end of life vehicles (ELVs) – applies only where the first movement is direct to an authorised treatment facility (ATF)
  • 15 01 10* empty unclean packaging destined for reconditioning, remanufacturing or rebottling under an environmental permit (not exemptions) – for this position, remanufacturing means only processes where the original core components of the packaging are reused
  • any, small samples of waste being sent to laboratories for analysis
    • the first movement is the place where the sample was taken or produced
    • applies to samples produced as part of a recognised quality assurance scheme
  • 20 01 35* with 20 01 36 small mixed waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) from domestic households
    • excludes other separately collected WEEE items, eg CRTs, monitors and flat screen TVs, refrigeration equipment, large domestic appliances, batteries and fluorescent lamps
    • place of production is a household WEEE collection point (civic amenity site, bring bank, or a shop offering in store take back)
    • unsorted loads must be classified as both 20 01 35* and 20 01 36 unless hazardous items and components have been identified and removed
  • 17 04 10* with 17 04 11 and 16 01 21* with 16 01 22 waste electrical and telecommunications cable (non-WEEE only) – applies only to loads under 25kg, where the original producer is a construction or demolition contractor, electrical contractor or vehicle maintenance facility

This derogation can only be used when the waste is moved from the original producer. Second and subsequent movements must still conmply with normal consignment procedures.

Where these wastes are received, consignee returns should be completed according to these instructions.

What is required?

The requirements for dealing with Hazardous Waste are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland to England and Wales.

For England and Wales, hazardous waste is dealt with under the Hazardous Waste Regulations (amended under the Amendment Regulations 2009 which imposes the 500kg exemption threshold, more recently by the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 that removed multiple collection consignment notes) and most recently, by the 2016 Amendment Regulations that remove the premises code requirement. Any business in Wales that generates more than 500 kgs/year of waste classed as ‘Hazardous’ under the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) must register as a hazardous waste producer with Natural Resource Wales before they can have hazardous waste collected from their site.
There are exemptions. Where a site produces less that 500kgs per year, it does not need to register and can have its hazardous waste collected without a registration number. THIS IS NOT REQUIRED IN ENGLAND FROM 1 APRIL 2016.

All registered sites are listed on the EA public register (will not apply in England for sites whose registration lapses after 1 April 2016).

An EA explanation of which sites should be registered can be found here.

For Scotland, hazardous waste is controlled by the Special Waste Regulations, is still known as ‘Special Waste’ and must be consigned – SEPA have produced a comprehensive Guide. A business that produces special waste (the same as hazardous waste in England and Wales) does NOT have to register their site. Instead, there is a pre-notification procedure where the company that is asked to collect the waste must submit a notification to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency 3 days in advance of the collection except for lead-acid batteries or subsequent collections of the same waste. Notification can now be paid for online and users can opt for a consignment note or just the number if they wish to do their own consignment note. SEPA has a range of advisory notes on the handling of special waste.

A Scottish Consignment Note template is available here and a Carrier’s Schedule here.

For Northern Ireland, the Hazardous Waste Regulations have replaced the Special Waste Regulations, but the system operates very similar to before and to Scotland – pre-notification and consignment notes. A Guidance Note explains the requirements with a more comprehensive Guide here.


For each consignment, a fee must be paid to the relevant Agency.

In England and Wales, the charge is £10/single consignment and £5/consignment collected on a milk round (multiple collection) where payment is made online.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the fee is up to £15/consignment depending on applicability.

Further information

For England

Consignment Note Guidance

For Wales

For Scotland

For Northern Ireland