Activities involving hazardous waste are more tightly regulated than those involving inert or non-hazardous waste. Besides the general waste management controls, eg duty of care, there are many provisions specific to hazardous waste, governing its classification, storage, handling, transport, treatment and disposal. Waste producers must complete a hazardous waste consignment note when sending waste for treatment or disposal.

The co-disposal of hazardous with non-hazardous waste at landfill sites has been banned since 2004. As a result, few landfill sites in the UK can accept hazardous waste, and waste producers must find alternative disposal methods or recovery options. If a landfill site is able to take hazardous waste, the waste must still be pretreated to render it less hazardous (unless treatment is not a practical option, eg asbestos), making it considerably more expensive to dispose of.

This topic describes the legal responsibilities of those who produce, transport, store and treat hazardous waste. It contains a detailed explanation of the consignment note procedure. See also the Duty of Care topic, which applies to all types of waste.

References to the Environment Agency should be taken to include Natural Resources Wales unless stated otherwise.

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