Waste Classification

Waste Classification

Incorrect waste classification can significantly increase disposal and transportation costs and can lead to unnecessary project delays.

As part of your waste duty of care you must classify the waste your business produces:

  • before it is collected, disposed of or recovered
  • to identify the controls that apply to the movement of the waste
  • to complete waste documents and records
  • to identify suitably authorised waste management options
  • to prevent harm to people and the environment

The Environment Agency’s technical guidance document ‘Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste (1st edition 2015),Technical Guidance WM3’ details the requirements for the classification. This document became mandatory in July 2015 and means all organisations have a duty of care with regards to the disposal of hazardous waste.

For most wastes, there is a requirement to identify if the waste has a hazardous property before it can be appropriately classified and described. The WM3 guidance explains how to assess if the waste displays a hazardous property and how to classify it.

It is a statutory requirement that all waste is characterised and that the materials also meet specific Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) prior to disposal at landfill sites. The producers of the waste has a Duty of Care to characterise the waste and the landfill operator must ensure that a ‘Basic Waste Characterisation’ has been completed before the waste can be accepted.

In order to classify soils for disposal to landfill the soil should be tested for both the Basic Waste Classification (also known as dry solids testing or air dried testing) and a Waste Acceptance Criteria Test (WAC test).