What Are the UK’s Hazardous Waste Regulations?

When it comes to hazardous waste, handling and disposal is a serious business. Managed incorrectly, hazardous waste can have damaging impacts on human health, the environment and ecosystems.

When dealing with hazardous waste, thorough knowledge and understanding is not only vital in preventing dangerous mistakes, but also for ensuring your handling is lawful.

In this blog from SL Recycling, we outline the UK’s hazardous waste regulations to help you understand your responsibilities better.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Before discussing its management, it’s important to understand what is meant by hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is usually defined as waste that is harmful to humans or the environment. Waste can also be deemed hazardous due to the materials/substances it contains. Hazardous waste can be produced in many different sectors, most commonly industrial and manufacturing.

Some examples of the harmful materials found in hazardous waste include:

  • Asbestos.
  • Chemicals.
  • Batteries.
  • Solvents.
  • Pesticides.
  • Hazardous waste containers.

What Regulations Govern Hazardous Waste in the UK?

In the UK, any business or organisation that creates hazardous waste is required to adhere to hazardous waste disposal regulations. If a business does not comply with these regulations, consequences can be costly and dangerous. In the UK, hazardous waste disposal is highly important. Within the regulations set out by relevant UK authorities, there are numerous elements that must be followed, we outline key regulations below.

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005

A key piece of documentation relating to waste management and disposal is the Special Waste Regulations (2005). The 2005 Hazardous Waste Regulations declare that organisations that produce more 500kg of hazardous waste must register with the relevant environment agency for their region. This document also explains the systems hazardous waste producers should follow to remain compliant and safe. For Scottish handlers of hazardous waste, reference should be made to the Special Waste Regulations 1996 (with amendments).

Special Waste Regulations (1996)

This item of Scottish regulation offers a list of materials that should be classified as ‘special’. If an item is within this list, this document goes on to insist upon its safe disposal. The principles outlined within this document are regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

How to Effectively Dispose of Hazardous Waste

Across many items of regulation, a heavy emphasis is placed on the correct disposal of special or hazardous waste – but what exactly does this mean?

Firstly, when assessing whether or not you are dealing with hazardous waste, it may be useful to consult a government approved list of waste types. These resources are available via GOV.UK.

Once this information has been obtained, the principles outlined in the Special Waste Regulations 2005 become relevant. If you will produce over 500Kg of this waste per year, the relevant local authority must be alerted.

Once this has happened, a business is required to organise a waste disposal process that clearly separates hazardous waste from other varieties of waste that may be produced on site. This includes effectively storing your waste to ensure no cross contamination.

When it comes to disposing of the waste, there are a range of specialist providers that offer tailored disposal services. These providers can offer expert advice and organise routine collections of hazardous waste.

Utilising specialist services such as these not only ensure that your waste is being disposed of in adherence to legal guidelines, but it also reassures business owners that they are not disposing of waste in a damaging way.

When hazardous waste is disposed of, formal records and consignment must be kept for a minimum of 3 years – failure to keep these may be viewed as a breach of regulations.

Discover more of our tips for managing hazardous waste >

Hazardous Waste Disposal with SL Recycling

When disposing of hazardous waste, an expert opinion is always valuable. Here at SL Recycling, we offer extensive hazardous waste management services. Our services utilise our own fleet of collection vehicles and are organised by in house waste experts.

Our services allow customers to tailor collections to their particular needs, both in terms of format and frequency Our tankers take all forms of hazardous waste, with capacity of 2000-5000 gallons. Our tankers also utilise self-loading vacuum technology to ensure maximally safe disposal. For more information about how we can assist your business, take a look at our hazardous waste management services. To speak to a member of our team and receive more tailored advice, get in touch today. Our range of industry specialists are on hand to help.

Read next: How to Choose the Right Waste Management & Recycling Company

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