The classification of waste

Waste is classified by its source and by its properties. To further complicate matters, there are a number of terms in use which have no legal definition (e.g. difficult waste) and some which, although they are legally defined, are often used in a broader context (e.g. hazardous waste).

This figure gives a general framework for classifying waste.

It should be noted that although certain wastes are classified as ‘non-controlled’ this does not necessarily mean that there is no legislation governing their disposal. The regulatory regime for agricultural waste in Scotland changed during 2005 as control of its disposal was brought into line with the disposal of controlled wastes.

Most of the materials discarded from FHE establishments are classified as controlled waste. The management and disposal of controlled waste is principally regulated by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 although larger waste disposal facilities are subject to the new permitting regimes introduced by the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 and the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000.