Hazardous Waste and Special Waste

Hazardous Waste and Special Waste
Until recently legislation in the UK controlled special waste but not all hazardous waste was special waste. This has resulted in some difficulty and confusion as a number of newer pieces of legislation (e.g. those relating to incineration, pollution prevention and control and landfill) are underpinned by the need to consider the hazardous properties of waste. To address this, a number of changes to UK legislation are underway.

The first of these was introduced in Scotland during 2004 (Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004) and were followed by the Hazardous Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2005. It is anticipated that the new legislation to be introduced in Northern Ireland will more closely follow that in Scotland rather than the counterpart in England and Wales. That for Wales is likely to be similar to the legislation for England.
The EWC is a hierarchical list of waste descriptions established by Commission Decision 2000/532/EC. It is divided into twenty main chapters each of which has a two-digit code between 01 and 20. Most of the chapters relate to industry but some are based on materials and processes. Individual wastes within each chapter are assigned a six figure code. The descriptions and codes within the EWC are a suitable part of the description of your waste so as to comply with your duty of care.

Within the list hazardous wastes are signified by entries where the code is followed by an asterisk. Those that are ‘Absolute Entries’ (i.e. are always hazardous waste) are shown in red and the letter ‘A’ appears beside them. For some entries the judgment on whether they are hazardous depends on the threshold of any dangerous substance that is present. These entries are ‘Mirror Entries’, They are coloured blue and the letter ‘M’ appears beside them. The European Waste catalogue is available at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/waste/31873.asp