Paper manufacturing waste and hazardous substances

Paper 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.

Types of paper manufacturing waste

Waste materials produced by paper and cardboard businesses include:

  • off-specification products
  • trim and off-cuts
  • waste pulp and wood chips
  • staples, paper clips, plastic, wire or other contaminants
  • used packaging
  • waste oil, lubricants and fuel
  • containers containing chemical residues
  • residues or unusable chemical products, such as solvents, adhesives, coatings, inks, varnishes and biocides
  • sludges, eg from cooling tanks and effluent treatment plants
  • office or kitchen equipment
  • pollution containment equipment that has been used on spills

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.

See environmental permits, licences and exemptions for paper and cardboard production.

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 how to check 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 NIEA as a waste carrier if you transport:

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

See our guide on 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 the page on how to complete waste transfer notes in our guide on duty of care for business waste.

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 and some types of batteries, computer monitors and paints.

You must comply with additional legal requirements for hazardous waste - see hazardous waste responsibilities for paper and cardboard 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 paper and cardboard production sites.

Good practice in paper manufacturing

You can save money and help the environment by reducing the amount of waste you produce.

Keep lightweight material covered so that it does not blow about your site or cause a nuisance to your neighbours.

See waste reduction and recycling from paper and cardboard production.

  • NIEA Helpline
    0300 200 7856