European Waste Catalogue (EWC) Codes / List of Wastes) LoW)

European Waste Catalogue (EWC) Codes / List of Wastes) LoW)

Prior to waste destined for landfill leaving the premises of production, waste producers must classify their waste using the List of Wastes (LoW) (formerly commonly identified using the European Waste Catalogue10 (EWC)).

Appendix A of ‘Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste – Technical Guidance WM3’ describes how to use the List of Waste and identifies what assessment is needed before a LoW code can be assigned to the waste.

The List of Waste (LoW) is the legal classification system used for classifying waste and identifying if a waste is hazardous waste.

There are a series of steps that need to be followed in order to appropriately classify and assess the waste – these procedures can be summarised into the following 7 steps within the waste classification and assessment procedure:

Steps to classify the waste:

Step 1 – check if the waste needs to be classified

Nearly all household, commercial and industrial waste do need to be classified.

Step 2- identify the code or codes that apply to the waste

This step identifies how the waste materials are classified in List of Waste (LoW). The LoW is a catalogue of all wastes divided into 20 chapters, each of which contains a number of sub-categories. The LoW provides details on the appropriate code, the waste description and the entry type. Wastes that are considered to be hazardous are identified with an asterisk in the list. The individual codes are six digits and are typically recorded as double entries where there is a code for the non-hazardous type of the waste and another one for the hazardous type of waste.

Step 3 – identify the assessment needed to select the correct code.

The codes are divided into four types of entry:

  1. wastes that may be hazardous or non-hazardous, known as ‘mirror hazardous’ and ‘mirror non-hazardous’ entries
  2. wastes that are always hazardous, known as ‘absolute hazardous’ entries
  3. wastes that are always non-hazardous, known as ‘absolute non-hazardous’ entries

Steps to assess the waste

Step 4 – determine the chemical composition of the waste

Step 5 – confirm if the substances in the waste are ‘hazardous’ or ‘persistent organic pollutants’ (POPs)

Step 6 – assess the hazardous properties of the waste

Step  7 – assign the classification code and describe the hazardous properties


Nicholls Colton Group are able to undertake the necessary laboratory testing for the waste classification procedures and can provide a letter report that would include copies of the laboratory test results and a waste classification assessment of the materials.

The above technical information is provided as an initial guide only – please speak to one of our team for further advice and recommendations on your waste requirements.

We would strongly recommend that the proposed receiving landfill site is consulted in order to ensure that any specific criteria that they may require under their particular site permit is included within the assessment.