Key Legal Definitions for Further and Higher Education institutions

Controlled Waste

Waste that is defined as household, industrial or commercial waste, including special and clinical waste. The storage, handling, movement and disposal of controlled waste is strictly regulated with the Environmental Protection Act 1990 introducing a chain of accountability for controlled waste and the concept of Duty of Care.

Household Waste

Waste from a domestic property, caravan, residential home, educational establishment, hospital or nursing home with the exception of mineral or synthetic oil or grease, asbestos and clinical waste.

Clinical Waste

Any waste consisting wholly or partly of human or animal tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, drugs or other pharmaceutical products, swabs or dressings, or syringes, needles or other sharp instruments, being waste which unless rendered safe may prove hazardous to any person coming into contact with it; and any waste arising from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical or similar practices, investigation, treatment, care, teaching or research, or the collection of blood for transfusion, being waste which may cause infection to any person coming into contact with it.

Clinical waste is further subdivided for management purposes into hazard risk groups 1 to 4 (Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens) and Groups A1-A3 and B, C, D and E (Health Services Advisory Committee).

Special/Hazardous Waste

Controlled waste that, because of its properties, requires special treatment and control. There is no easy definition of special/hazardous waste as account needs to be taken of the properties of each substance which may or may not be a function of its concentration. The Hazardous Waste Directive contains a list of substances considered to be hazardous. In the European Waste Catalogue, hazardous wastes are marked with an asterisk.

In addition, it should be noted that although radioactive waste is not classified as controlled waste, some radioactive wastes possessing certain hazardous properties may be classed as special/hazardous waste

Agricultural Waste

Agricultural waste is defined as ‘Waste from premises used for agriculture within the meaning of the Agriculture Act 1947, the Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948 or the Agriculture Act (Northern Ireland 1949’. Agricultural waste therefore includes a range of waste streams that originate from agricultural or horticultural establishments, for example, agricultural plastics and packaging waste, empty pesticide containers, clinical waste, tyres, old machinery and oil. Where manure slurry and effluent is used as a fertilizer on the farm where it originated, it is not considered to be waste.

The introduction of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2005 has brought agricultural waste within the definition of Controlled Waste and is therefore subject to the same waste disposal and duty of care requirements. It is likely that a similar change will occur in the remainder of the UK during 2005.

Certain wastes derived from agricultural premises are subject to strict control under the Animal By-Products Regulations (for example, carcasses and some bedding materials) and/or may be subject to control under Clinical Waste, Special Waste or Radioactive Waste legislation.

Radioactive Waste

Radioactive waste is defined in the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 as any waste which
  1. consists wholly or partly of substance which would otherwise be classified as a radioactive material (these are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act with associated threshold values) or
  2. any substance contaminated by a radioactive material or radioactive waste.
It should be noted that some radioactive waste may also be classified as hazardous/special waste.