Demystifying Waste Classification Codes

To help ensure the safe destruction of the waste we generate, it must be classified. In line with the List of Waste (LoW) – a legal system used for classifying waste and identifying if it is hazardous – there are a set of assessments, procedures and codes to follow to correctly classify waste according to regulation.

 Three steps must be followed when considering each piece and type of waste you encounter:

1.   Check, firstly, if the waste needs to be classified. The majority does, including nearly all household, commercial and industrial waste. You can follow the steps on page five of this guide to decide your next steps

2.   Identify how the waste is classified in the LoW

3.   Identify the assessment needed in order to assign a LoW code to the waste

Appendix A in this document includes the LoW, which details the code and description of most types of waste, providing working examples where available. Some waste classification codes are linked, so it’s common to identify more than one code after following these steps.

If you have identified that an assessment of the waste is needed, you will have to consider how it affects the classification of the waste. This will depend on the code assigned to the waste, and will fall into one of four categories:

  • Mirror hazardous – waste that may be hazardous
  • Mirror non-hazardous – waste that may be non-hazardous
  • Absolute hazardous – waste that is always hazardous
  • Absolute non-hazardous – waste that is always non-hazardous

Mirror hazardous waste or mirror non-hazardous waste

If the waste is classified under ‘mirror hazardous’ or ‘mirror non-hazardous’, you will need to:

1.   Determine the chemical composition of the waste

2.   Identify if the substances in the waste are ’hazardous substances’ or ’Persistent Organic Pollutants’

3.   Assess the hazardous properties of the waste

4.   Assign the classification code and describe the classification code

 This will be used to identify which waste classification code applies and complete the hazardous waste consignment note. A LoW code cannot be assigned until these steps have been completed.

 Absolute hazardous waste

If a waste is classified as an ‘absolute hazardous’ entry, you must use the code assigned. The waste is hazardous waste and further assessment cannot change the classification. You must assess your waste to determine which hazardous properties it displays to complete a hazardous waste consignment note

Absolute non-hazardous waste

If a waste is classified as an ‘absolute non-hazardous’ entry, in most cases it is non-hazardous. Further assessment is not required, and you can proceed to assign the classification code and describe the classification code.

In Appendix A, additional advice is given on how certain atypical entries of this type are applied, for example entries that relate to the presence or absence of hazardous components.

 Anyone looking for clarification on how to correctly classify hazardous waste, and then take the steps to efficiently destroy it in line with guidance and regulation, can contact a member of the Inciner8 team for advice

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