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In-depth Guide to Adhering to Hazardous Waste Regulations in the UK 2021

In the UK, any company or organisation that produces hazardous waste must adhere to hazardous waste disposal regulations. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to serious consequences, including some heavy fines or possible injuries.

Trying to navigate hazardous waste regulation can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve put together this easy to understand guide.

Questions this guide will answer:

  • What is classed as Hazardous Waste?
  • What are some examples of hazardous waste?
  • Are there any key pieces of Hazardous waste regulation?
  • How do I stay compliant with Hazardous Waste disposal?
  • Why is compliance important?

What is classed as Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous Waste can be used to describe any waste materials or substances that are a danger to humans, animals or the environment.

Examples of hazardous waste:

  • Pesticides, herbicides, and other dangerous chemicals.
  • Previously used chemical substances such as motor oil, brake fluid, and used printer toner cartridges.
  • Batteries or battery acid.
  • Expired drugs and medication.
  • Old damaged equipment with dangerous internal parts such as fridges
  • Hazardous waste containers.

Please note, edible oils are not classed as hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste should not be confused with dangerous healthcare waste such as sharps disposal, but both are equally as crucial.

Hazardous waste regulations in the UK
Hazardous waste disposal in the UK is taken very seriously. There are key pieces of regulation that must be followed, and failure to follow regulation can lead to serious fines or a prison sentence.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, hazardous Waste Regulations were implemented in 2005.

Summary of hazardous waste regulations 2005:
The 2005 Hazardous Waste Regulations states that organisations producing over 500kg of hazardous waste must register with the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales. The regulation also explains the systems hazardous waste producers must follow to remain compliant and safe.

In Scotland, Hazardous Waste is called ‘special waste’, and is covered by the Special Waste Regulations 1996 (and their amendments).

Summary of the Special Waste Regulations 1996:
This important piece of Scottish regulation lists the types of waste classed as special and explains the duty of care businesses have to dispose of it correctly. It is regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

You can read the full piece of regulation at

How to properly dispose of Hazardous Waste Management

If you produce or hold waste that could be considered dangerous, but are unsure if you are compliant, follow these simple steps:

  • Look at a list of different types of wasteand determine whether yours is considered hazardous.
  • If it is, and you produce or hold over 500kg of it per year, you need to registerwith the correct authority.
  • You then need to set up a process to keep hazardous waste separate from your regular waste and ensure it is properly contained.
  • To dispose of this waste, you need to find a trustworthy supplier of waste disposal servicesor clinical waste disposal services to handle your collections.
  • Make sure to keep all records and consignment notes for a minimum of 3 years.

Hazardous Waste Compliance
To stay compliant with hazardous waste disposal, you need to find out if you are required to register with the government or not.

If you produce less than 500kg of hazardous waste per year, then no official action is required.

However, the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 state that if your company or organisation produces over 500kg of hazardous waste per year you need to register as a hazardous waste producer.

Hazardous Waste Regulations

Why is hazardous waste disposal important?

As a business owner or executive, you have something known as a ‘duty of care’ to your employees, as well as customers and other visitors to your organisation.

Improper management of hazardous waste and hazardous Waste bins can lead to long term sickness and disease, illness, injuries, and even deaths. If this occurs in your workplace as a result of mismanagement of dangerous waste, you will be held responsible, and could face a fine or a prison sentence.

A cost-effect solution with phs

As the UK’s leading provider of hazardous waste collection, management and disposal, phs can provide you with a fully-managed waste solution. This will be ensuring all regulations are followed while allowing you to focus on the day-today operations of your business.


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