Last reviewed 6 September 2021

The Environment Agency (EA) has relaunched its Definition of Waste Service following a 12-month suspension, but the cost of using the service has risen.

The Definition of Waste (DoW) service provides businesses with an opinion on whether a particular material they hold can be defined as waste, which might then be subject to regulatory conditions.

Examples of waste status include using residues from a manufacturing process for other purposes, creating novel materials from waste for a new market or using a waste material as a fuel or a construction product etc.

The EA temporarily suspended the DoW service last September to allow staff to concentrate on processing a backlog of National Permitting applications. It was reintroduced this week, but the costs of using the service have risen.

DoW service offers businesses an interim review, at a cost of £900, to check businesses have sent relevant information and to estimate the cost of the technical review.

The technical review assesses if the material can be considered as end of waste or a by-product. Fees for this assessment cost £125 an hour (including VAT). The EA estimates it will take between 3 and 18 months to complete an assessment and fees likely to range between £1,500 to £15,000, depending on how much time is needed. Previous DoW assessments were capped at £5000.

The EA has also updated its general guidance to help businesses decide if a particular material is waste.

The full document is set out in three parts, including:

  • part 1: the background and rationale for providing guidance on end of waste

  • part 2: a practical guide for businesses and other organisations

  • part 3: detailed guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application.

Further details of the Environment Agency’s DoW service are available here.

Updated guidance to help businesses decide whether particular materials should be classified as waste is also available from the government website here.