Telephone : 01908 041 464 | Email :
Quick Jump

Hazardous Waste and ISO 14001 EMS


In the context of the United Kingdom, hazardous waste refers to waste materials that possess properties or contain substances that could be harmful to human health or the environment. These wastes require special handling, storage, and disposal procedures to minimise their impact and ensure public safety. There is also key hazardous waste legislation that may apply to you and may need to be added to your ISO Compliance Register.

Furthermore, for businesses operating in and out of Scotland, you will need to be aware of “Special Waste” requirements. Special Waste refers to a specific category of waste that is subject to stricter controls and regulations due to its potentially hazardous or environmentally harmful nature. Special Waste is defined under the Special Waste Regulations (SWR) in Scotland.

The SWR provides a legal framework for the management and disposal of special waste in order to protect public health and the environment. Special Waste includes various types of waste that can be harmful if not managed properly.

If the affect hazardous waste is something you want to manage, you can sign up for ISO Compliance Register here.

What is Hazardous Waste?

What are examples of hazardous waste?

There are various types of hazardous waste that can be generated by businesses across different sectors. Here are some examples of common hazardous wastes:

  • Chemical Wastes: These include solvents, paints, thinners, adhesives, cleaning agents, pesticides, and laboratory chemicals. These substances may contain toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive properties.
  • Batteries: Both automotive batteries (lead-acid batteries) and smaller batteries (such as lithium-ion batteries) can be classified as hazardous waste due to their heavy metal content and potential for chemical leakage.
  • Electronic Waste (e-waste): This category includes discarded electronic devices such as computers, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic equipment. E-waste can contain hazardous components like lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants.
  • Asbestos: While not generated by businesses in the same way as other wastes, asbestos is a hazardous material that may be encountered during renovation or demolition projects. Its fibers can cause serious health issues when inhaled.
  • Medical Waste: Certain types of medical waste, including sharps (needles, syringes), pharmaceutical waste, and pathological waste, can be classified as hazardous due to their potential for transmitting infectious diseases or containing harmful substances.
  • Oils and Oil-Contaminated Waste: Waste oils, including engine oils, hydraulic fluids, and other lubricants, are hazardous due to their potential toxicity and flammability. Additionally, any waste that has come into contact with oils, such as oil-soaked rags, may also be classified as hazardous waste.

These examples illustrate the diverse range of hazardous wastes that businesses may encounter. It’s crucial to identify, handle, store, and dispose of such wastes in accordance with applicable regulations and guidelines to protect human health and the environment.

Key hazardous waste legislation

In addition to these general requirements, there are several key legislations in the UK that govern the management of hazardous waste. These include:

  • Environmental Protection Act 1990: This legislation provides the framework for waste management and control in the UK, including the duty of care, waste disposal licensing, and the enforcement of waste-related regulations.
  • Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005: These regulations define hazardous waste and set out the requirements for its classification, handling, transport, and disposal.
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002: Although not specific to waste, COSHH regulations require businesses to assess and control the risks associated with hazardous substances, including those found in hazardous waste.
  • Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG 2009): These regulations cover the transportation of hazardous waste and ensure compliance with international standards for the safe transport of dangerous goods.
  • The Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004

It’s important for businesses to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and regulations applicable to their industry and the types of hazardous waste they generate. This helps ensure compliance, protect the environment, and prevent harm to human health.

How does hazardous waste affect my business?

Businesses in the UK have certain obligations and responsibilities when it comes to the management of hazardous waste. Some key requirements include:

  • Duty of Care: Businesses are required to take responsibility for their waste from the moment it is produced until its final disposal. This includes ensuring proper handling, storage, transportation, and appropriate transfer of waste to authorised individuals or entities.
  • Waste Hierarchy: Businesses must adhere to the waste hierarchy, which prioritizes waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and recovery over disposal. They should implement measures to minimize waste generation and maximize resource efficiency.
  • Waste Transfer Notes: When hazardous waste is transferred between businesses or individuals, a Waste Transfer Note (WTN) must be completed. The WTN provides details about the waste, its origin, destination, and the parties involved in the transfer.
  • Consignment Notes: For the movement of hazardous waste, including its transport from the premises, a Consignment Note is required. This document contains detailed information about the waste, its classification, packaging, and the consignee or waste facility receiving it.
  • Proper Storage and Segregation: Hazardous waste must be stored safely and securely on-site. It should be appropriately labeled, segregated from other waste streams, and stored in suitable containers or facilities to prevent leakage, spills, or contamination.