This guide will explain everything you need to know about Hazardous Waste and your waste management obligations – To arrange delivery of containers and to arrange collections call 0800 211 83 90

What are The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005?

The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005, were brought into force to replace the Special Waste Regulations Act (1996). The regulations were introduced to protect the environment by finding a new way to control and track hazardous waste, ensuring that it is safely and securely disposed of.

There were various motivations behind the act coming into place, though the most prominent is the UK landfil crisis. According to experts, our dependency upon landfills for waste disposal means that the sites will be completely overflowing by 2023 – as a result, certain interventions must be put in place -and the Hazardous Waste Act are a clear and effective example of this.

The Regulations dictate:

    • Hazardous waste must be ‘recovered or disposed of without endangering human health, and without using processes or methods which could harm the environment’.
    • Waste producers (i.e. business owners) must classify their waste and store hazardous waste separately from their

commercial waste

    • .
    • Waste producers must ensure that a licensed carrier collects their waste. This means you must work with a registered company, with the appropriate environmental permits.
    Each time waste is collected, a consignment form must be filled out. Both the carrier and producer must keep a copy of this note.

How can I dispose of hazardous waste in the workplace?

Various industries produce hazardous waste on a daily basis; this includes construction companies and pharmacies. Thankfully, there are multiple steps you can take to dispose of hazardous workplace waste.

    1. 1. Ensure all members of staff are aware of the importance of proper waste disposal.
    1. 2. Classify and separate your waste.
    1. 3. Use the appropriate bins and containers to store waste.
    1. 4. Work with a licensed carrier to put together a waste collection schedule.
    5. Fill out a consignment/waste transfer note. Ensure that all documents are kept on file for at least three years.

If you need help putting together an effective waste disposal plan for your business, we’re on hand to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch online, or give us a call at 0800 211 83 90.

How should hazardous waste be stored?

Hazardous waste should be stored safely and securely. This can stop unauthorised personnel from gaining access to the waste products and helps to protect the environment by reducing the chances of any leaks or spillages. When storing your hazardous waste, you should:

    • Clearly label your waste. Keep an inventory of any waste that is stored on your property.
    • Set up a designated waste area on-site, where all waste disposal bins will be stored.
    • Keep hazardous and non-hazardous waste separate from each other.
    • Ensure all bags or bins are tightly sealed.
    • Arrange for regular waste collection to ensure that your bins are not overflowing with waste.
    Perform regular maintenance checks on your storage area, ensuring none of the bins/containers have become damaged.

Can hazardous waste be stored outside?

It may be that your company chooses to store its waste outside before collection. Thankfully, hazardous waste can be stored outside, so long as the area is kept secure. For example, the waste should be stored in the appropriate containers, inside a locked or gated area.

What bins and containers can be used for hazardous waste?

Various different containers can be used to store hazardous waste. This includes:

Yellow Hazardous Waste Bags. The bags are used for hazardous waste such as dressings and wipes, bandages and PPE.

Cytotoxic/Cytostatic Waste Bins. These bins are available in various sizes, from 2.5-50L. This includes products such as blister packs, medicinal vials and patches.

Wheelie bins. Hazardous waste wheelie bins are available in a range of sizes, from 120L-1100L. They are also available in different colours, to help you differentiate your waste.

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC). Intermediate bulk containers are used to store up to 1000L of hazardous liquid waste, including chemical waste and sludge/slurries.

How can I set up a hazardous waste storage area?

If you are looking to set up a hazardous waste storage area on your site, you will need to ensure you have easy access to the appropriate bins and containers. All hazardous waste must be kept separately from your general waste, perhaps at a different location on site. As mentioned previously, you should clearly label each bin to minimise the cross-contamination of waste. Finally, you should make sure that the general public cannot gain access to the waste.

At BusinessWaste, we’re on hand to help you set up a waste storage area for your business. Whether we chat over the phone, or head over for a site visit – we’ll work closely with you to find the best waste management solutions for your company.

What methods are used for the safe disposal of hazardous waste?

When we collect your waste, we will ensure it is taken to the appropriate facility for disposal. Wherever possible, we avoid using landfills. There are various different (safe) methods of hazardous waste disposal. These include:

Incineration. Incineration is a process where waste is disposed of through burning. When certain hazardous wastes are incinerated, such as oils, they can be converted into energy sources. There are numerous benefits associated with incineration, newer incineration methods, such as ‘starved air incineration’ limit the production of gasses, while still breaking down products.

Recycling. Many recycling facilities are now able to take on hazardous waste; finding new uses for the products. This is much better for the environment and reduces the demands placed upon landfill sites.

Can hazardous waste be recycled?

As mentioned previously, certain types of hazardous waste can be recycled, though they must be first broken down/taken apart at a waste management facility. This includes items such as WEEE products, small electrical items and lead-acid batteries. If you are unsure whether your products can be recycled, you can send us any enquiries you have, and we’ll do the rest.

What are the four types of hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is typically broken down into four categories.

Universal Wastes.

    • Batteries, or equipment containing mercury.

Mixed Wastes. Waste that is deemed radioactive, or contains hazardous waste components.

Characteristic Wastes. Corrosive, toxic, or reactive waste.

Listed wastes as determined by the EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency). Wastes from the F List (waste from non-specific sources), or K List (source-specific waste).

How is hazardous waste classified?

The following characteristics classify hazardous waste:


This characteristic refers to waste that is hazardous because it could potentially cause a fire during storage, transport or disposal. This includes items such as:

Fluorescent Tubes & Sodium Lamps. Sodium is an alkali metal, and alkali metals are renowned for being highly reactive substances. As a result, fluorescent tubes and sodium lamps are classified as hazardous as they are potentially flammable.

Contaminated Spills and Rags. Contaminated spills or rags belong in this category due to the materials they are contaminated with. This includes cleaning products, oils or paint – which are all potentially flammable.

Paint in Original Containers. Certain paints, such as varnish and polyurethane,
contain a high volume of flammable compounds, such as xylene, toluene. However, water-based paints, such as acrylic or vinyl paint, are non-flammable substances.

Oil and Fuel Filters. Oil fuels and filters are considered hazardous waste due to the fact that they are potentially flammable when they reach a specific temperature.


This characteristic refers to waste that is hazardous due to how it rusts or decomposes. This could include:

Lead Acid Batteries. Lead-acid, similar to sulfuric acid, poses a significant threat to the environment – this is because it can contaminate water sources.


This characteristic refers to waste that is hazardous due to how reactive it is. For example, it could be considered potentially explosive. This could include:

Aerosols. In order to work, the liquid within aerosols is pressurised with a propellant. This means that if pierced, damaged or overheated – they could explode.

Plasterboard. Though it may not initially appear hazardous, plasterboard poses a threat to the environment if disposed of in a general landfill site. This is because plasterboard, and similar products such as drywall, contain gypsum. When gypsum is grouped with biodegradable wastes, it can produce highly toxic gas.


This characteristic refers to waste that is hazardous due to the harm it can cause if ingested or absorbed.

Antifreeze and Brake Fluids. If ingested, antifreeze and brake fluids can cause serious harm to human health. This is because it contains high amounts of Diethylene Glycol (DEG), a highly toxic substance.

Toner or Laser Cartridges. The vast majority of the products involved in making toner and laser cartridges can be recycled. However, they are classified as toxic, hazardous waste, because they contain potentially carcinogenic substances.

Inkjet Cartridges. Like toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges contain a variety of potentially dangerous, carcinogenic substances that can disrupt hormonal activity and cause a variety of illnesses.

Asbestos. Asbestos is considered a hazardous substance because it contains various toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, which are released if the asbestos is disturbed.

Other examples of hazardous waste include:

    • Pesticides
    • Solvents
    • Laboratory waste
    • Cleaning products
    • Medical waste
    WEEE products (Fridges, Freezers, Microwaves, Toasters)

Can you mix hazardous waste?

Under government regulations, hazardous waste must be separated before disposal. This is because different kinds of waste must go through different disposal channels once collected. As a result, you are unable to mix hazardous waste.

How can you reduce hazardous waste?

There are various ways in which you can reduce the amount of hazardous waste you produce on site. This includes:

    • Searching for alternative products that do not include hazardous materials or chemicals.
    • Only buying the exact amount of materials you need, reducing the amount of surplus waste you produce.
    • Safely reusing products whenever possible.
    Sending any waste products to recycling facilities where they can be safely disposed of.

If you have any more questions about hazardous waste or hazardous waste disposal, do not hesitate to get in touch!

With charity shops closed, people have found other ways to get rid of unwanted items.

The great ‘Covid-19 clear-out’ across the UK saw many people who were furloughed or working from home having an almighty sort out of their homes – leaving charity shops bereft of donations.

Now that charity shops are beginning to reopen, UK waste and recycling company has learned that donations have more than halved on previous years, as people are too impatient to wait for them to reopen and have thrown away their potential donations.

“The natural cycle of throwing things out has been shaken up with the Coronavirus lockdown,” says company spokesman Mark Hall.

“Because it’s taken so long to reopen charity shops, three months’ worth of items have ended up in local landfills, or wrapped up as gifts for the poor individuals who’ve had lockdown birthdays.”

The joys of regifting

People have been waiting impatiently for charity shops to return, and it has driven many to throw their unwanted items away at local recycling centres.

In fact, tips were so busy when they reopened in some parts of the UK, local councils have been asking people to book a tip run appointment in advance.

But ultimately this has had a knock-on effect, as charity shop volunteer Wendy tells us: “it’s a shame for us because the government allowed the local tip to be opened before us, so naturally people took all of their stuff there.”

But some of the lucky items that weren’t slung into a giant bin at the tip have found themselves in the reluctant hands of family and friends.

UK based waste specialists asked people online about regifting during the lockdown, and it turns out some have absolutely no shame in offloading their junk onto their loved ones:

• “I had the worst birthday ever in lockdown, all of my family just gave me their old junk. My grandad gave me a dictionary that was printed in 1983, and all the pages with naughty words on them were ripped out so I couldn’t even get a laugh out of it.” – Chris, Leicester
• “I sent my niece some bits for her birthday through the post, including a toiletry set I got for Christmas. But because I’d opened it and used a little of the moisturiser before I decided to give it away, it leaked all over the place and ruined everything in the box.” – Jill, Weymouth
• “My brother gave me some DVDs, and to be honest I was looking forward to watching Fight Club until I opened the case and found the disc for The Sound of Music instead. To be fair, there were a few fight scenes towards the end, so it wasn’t a complete loss.”- Jack, Taunton
• “Bath salts? No thanks” – Vic, Basingstoke

When the doors do not reopen

For some charity shops in the UK, their donation days may be over.

Charity shops have only recently reopened on 15th June after almost three months of being closed, meaning that a lot of charities have lost out on a quarter of the year’s potential takings.

Charities such as Cancer Research are predicting a decline in fundraising income by 25%, and Oxfam has been losing £5million a month in revenue with all their shops closed.

Age UK have announced that they will have to make some staff redundant as they prepare to close stores, and one branch of The Wessex Cancer Trust in Cosham is only reopening its doors for a large clearance sale before shutting up shop for good.

Mark Hall: “It’s such a shame for these shops to be closing, but without donations, fundraising and sales, they cannot afford to continue.”

But the shops that are reopening will gladly take any donations, and to reassure customers that they are safe from contamination, all donations will be quarantined for three days and disinfected before going on the shelves.

If you’re unsure if your local charity shop is accepting donations, recommend calling ahead to ask them instead of assuming they don’t want your stuff and dumping it.

Hall: “You never know, someone out there might be desperately searching for your unwanted copy of Robbie Williams Greatest Hits.

“OK, perhaps not.”