Metal manufacturing waste and hazardous substances

Metal manufacturing waste responsibilities

You are responsible for ensuring that controlled waste you produce, store, treat, transport or dispose of does not harm the environment. This is called your duty of care.

Controlled waste is commercial, industrial and household waste, and may include hazardous waste, agricultural, construction and demolition waste.

Examples of metal manufacturing waste

Waste materials that metal production and processing businesses are likely to produce include:

  • off-cuts and swarf (shavings or chippings of metal)
  • used oil emulsions and greases
  • sludges and slags from furnaces
  • old refractory linings
  • dust from baghouses and electrostatic precipitators

Check if you need a permit, licence or exemption

You must have a pollution prevention control (PPC) permit, waste management licence or registered waste exemption from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to use, store, collect, treat, recover, dismantle, recycle, burn or otherwise dispose of waste.

In some cases you may not need to register an exemption but you will still need to comply with the terms of an exemption. For example, you can usually store your own waste where it was produced temporarily, while you wait for it to be removed from your site.

Exemptions from waste management licensing may apply to your business if you:

  • heat iron, steel, ferrous alloys, non-ferrous metals or non-ferrous metal alloys to remove grease, oil or any other non-metallic contaminant, and the combined net rated thermal input of the furnace (or furnaces) is less than 0.2 megawatts
  • operate a scrap metal furnace with a designed holding capacity of less than 25 tonnes

See waste licences, exemptions and pre-notification for metal producers.

Apply the waste management hierarchy

You must apply the waste management hierarchy when you transfer waste. This means you must consider reusing or recycling your waste before deciding to dispose of it.

See choosing a waste management option.

If you have a waste management licence for an operation which generates waste, you will have to apply the waste management hierarchy. This will be a condition of new waste management licences, and will be added to existing licences when they are reviewed.

Use authorised businesses to deal with your waste

If your waste is collected by a waste carrier, broker or dealer you must check that they are registered or exempt from registration. Ask to see their certificate of registration or a certified copy. If you do not check and keep proof of this you could be held responsible if your waste is disposed of illegally, for example by fly-tipping. See checking your waste is dealt with correctly.

If you take your own waste to another site you must check that the site has the appropriate PPC permit, waste management licence or registered exemption for your type of waste.

Check if you need to register as a waste carrier

You can transport most waste produced by your own business directly to an authorised waste management site or recycling facility without being registered.

You must register with the NIEA as a waste carrier if you transport:

  • construction and demolition waste produced by your own business
  • any waste produced by another business

See waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

Use waste transfer notes

You must have a waste transfer note (WTN) for every load of waste you pass on or accept. WTNs must be completed and signed by both the person sending the waste and the person receiving the waste. You must keep copies of all your WTNs for at least two years.

See completing waste transfer notes.

Pre-treat waste for landfill

You must make sure that your waste is treated before it goes to a landfill site. This applies to most types of waste. You can either treat your waste yourself or make sure that a later holder of the waste will treat it before they send it to a landfill site - see sending waste to landfill.

Follow hazardous waste controls

You must check if you have hazardous waste that may be harmful to human health or the environment. Most businesses produce some hazardous waste, such as fluorescent tubes, computer monitors, cleaning and degreasing solvents, wastes contaminated with metals or chemicals.

You must comply with additional legal requirements for hazardous waste - see hazardous waste responsibilities for metal producers.

Prevent pollution from spills of waste

You must ensure that you don't cause pollution when you store and transport your waste. Separate different waste materials and store them in covered, waterproof containers with clear labels.

Prepare a pollution incident response plan. Ensure accidental spills can be contained. Keep spill kits at your site and portable spill kits in vehicles used to transport waste materials - see pollution incident prevention at metal production sites.