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The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011


The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 implement the revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98, which sets requirements for the collection, transport, recovery and disposal of waste. They require you to apply the ‘Waste Hierarchy’ before disposing of any of your business waste and introduces two-tier waste licensing. It adds extra controls if you are involved in hazardous waste activities. These regulations apply to you if your business is responsible for producing, storing, treating, transporting, recycling, importing, exporting, recovering or disposing of waste.  

For context, the revised Waste Framework Directive places greater emphasis on the waste hierarchy to ensure that waste is dealt with in the priority order of prevention, preparing for re-use, recycling, energy recovery and ultimately landfill. This reinforces the aim to reduce the risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals and the countryside that waste can cause, and without causing a nuisance through noise or odours through waste activities. 

The waste hierarchy priority order is: 

  • Prevention - Create less waste or ideally none, by using less material in design and manufacture. Keep products for longer, re use them. Use less hazardous materials 
  • Preparing for re-us - Checking, cleaning, repairing or refurbishing whole items or spare parts 
  • Recycling - Turning waste into a new substance or product. This includes composting if it meets quality protocols 
  • Other recovery - Includes anaerobic digestion and incineration for energy recovery  
  • Disposal - Landfill and incineration without energy recovery 

Following the waste hierarchy is good practice which businesses should adopt as a matter of course. By applying good environmental practice, you can save your business money, particularly if you do the following: 

  • Plan how you will apply the waste hierarchy;
  • Monitor your performance regularly; 
  • Know what waste you are producing, and make efforts to produce less; and 
  • Sort and segregate the waste you do produce, to help you or others recover value from it. 

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 were made on the 28th of March 2011. 

Do the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 affect my business?

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 applies to certain business in the waste sector. You must register with the Environment Agency as a waste carrier, broker or dealer if your business does any of the following: 

  • Transports waste 
  • Buys, sells or disposes of waste 
  • Arranges for someone else to buy, sell or dispose of waste 

Therefore, if your business undertakes or provides a service like any of the listed activities above, then the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 will apply to you, and you will need to apply for a license. 

There are two different types of licence – lower tier and upper tier. Make sure you apply for the right one. Lower tier licences are for businesses that: 

  • Only carry waste they produced while carrying out their business (except construction or demolition waste) 
  • Only carry, broker or deal in animal by-products, mine and quarry waste, agricultural waste  
  • Are charity or voluntary organisations 
  • The local authority collecting or disposing of waste  

Do I need the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 in my ISO Compliance Register?

You will need the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 in your ISO Compliance Register if you are: 

  • A local authority or the Environment Agency; or 
  • A business generating, transporting or processing commercial waste or similar activities as described above. 

Legislation related to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

Legislation related to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 include: 

  • Directive 2008/98/EC on waste
  • The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
  • The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012

More information

Visit the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 article on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.