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How to classify the different types of waste your business produces

  Thursday, 22 February 2024

Before any waste a business produces is retrieved for recycling and disposal, the different types of waste need to be classified. This classification of waste process enables waste transporters and recyclers, such as ASM Metal Recycling, to determine how to handle the waste while it is being disposed.

As a business with commercial waste, you have a duty of care to sort and store waste safely and securely whilst you wait for its collection. For every load of waste that leaves your premises, it’s important to make a waste transfer consignment note. This should be easily accessible should your local council or the Environment Agency ask for proof of its disposal in the future.

What is the waste classification code?

When arranging for waste contractors to collect and manage your business waste, you’ll need to include the classification of waste code in your description. This is also known as the List of Waste (LoW), European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code or EWC code list. The EWC code is a six-digit code comprising three two-digit numbers separated by dashes. For example, 16-06-01*. If the code has an asterisk attached, that means it is defined as hazardous waste.

What else should be included in your classification of waste?

  • Acknowledgement of the hazardous or non-hazardous nature of the waste items
  • The type of premises or business where the waste originates from
  • The name of the substance(s) requiring collection
  • The process that produced the hazardous or non-hazardous waste
  • Analysis of its chemical and physical state
  • An outline of any special issues or knowledge regarding the waste

What are the five different types of waste classification?

The Environment Agency has five categories in which the classification of waste should be organised:

  • Construction and demolition waste
  • Packaging waste and recyclables
  • Electronic and electrical equipment
  • Vehicle and oily wastes
  • Healthcare and related wastes

Consult the EWC code list for more details about these categories.

Construction and demolition waste

The waste produced by building and construction sites is extensive. Hazardous substances like asbestos, gypsum and solvents need to be managed professionally and expertly in the classification of waste process. Metallic waste, cement, paints and bituminous mixtures are also common products of construction sites. Read the Environment Agency’s full list of how to classify construction and demolition waste.

Packaging waste and recyclables

Most waste from packaging is non-hazardous, although plastic, metal and glass can have serious environmental impact if it ends up as landfill waste. There is some plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, glass and textiles which can contain residues of hazardous substances if not recycled. View the full EWC code list of how to classify packaging waste and recyclables.

Electronic and electrical equipment

The disposal of electronic and electrical equipment is subject to strict regulation, as most products contain hazardous substances that would be dangerous if not treated properly or recycled. Batteries, especially lead acid batteries contained in vehicles, are highly recyclable. Some of the other electrical equipment that needs to be classified include fluorescent tubes and low energy light bulbs, cathode ray tubes from TVs, and fridges and freezers that contain ozone-depleting substances. Get the EWC code list of electrical waste items.

Vehicle and oily wastes

Most waste products from motor maintenance or end-of-life vehicles are hazardous. That is because there is a high chance that they contain oil, which can have catastrophic effects if leaks occur in the water supply. Other vehicle components and parts contain mercury and asbestos, and catalytic converters contain refractory ceramic fibres. All hydraulic oils, engine gear, lubricating oils, insulating and transmission oils are hazardous substances. Refer to the complete EWC code list for vehicle and oily wastes.

Healthcare and related wastes

Waste material from hospitals, surgeries and other healthcare institutions comprises a mix of ‘offensive waste’ and hazardous waste from a range of sources. ‘Offensive waste’ is not infectious or hazardous but is unpleasant to come into contact with. It includes items like used surgical garments and outer dressings. In the classification of waste process, healthcare offensive waste should be separated from clinical and mixed municipal waste. Here is the full EWC code list for healthcare and related wastes.

Ask ASM to dispose of your metallic hazardous waste

As a CHAS approved provider, ASM Metal Recycling is fully licensed to dispose of your metallic hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Our services include site clearance and WEEE recycling, and we ensure that all your recyclable waste is transported safely and responsibly to our approved recycling site. Give us a call on 01296 33 77 11 to enquire about our waste disposal service.

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