If your business produces hazardous waste, you must make sure that it is disposed of or treated by an appropriate facility. You must not treat your own hazardous waste unless you are authorised to do so, and have the required in-house skills and facilities. Hazardous waste is waste that may be harmful to human health or the environment - see what is hazardous waste?
Some hazardous waste such as solvents, waste oils and metals can be recovered and recycled. Some hazardous waste can be incinerated, usually with other fuels, to generate power. Specialist incinerators for the most difficult hazardous wastes work at extremely high temperatures and have strict emission controls.
Treating hazardous waste
Treatment involves physical, thermal, chemical or biological processes (including sorting) that change the characteristics of waste in order to:
- reduce its volume
- reduce its hazardous nature
- make it easier to handle
- make it easier to recover
Diluting hazardous waste by mixing it with non-hazardous materials doesn't qualify as treatment. If hazardous waste is mixed in this way it must still be classified and managed as hazardous waste, or separated when it is safe to do so.
Mixing different categories of hazardous waste, or hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste or non-waste, is only allowed in certain circumstances and always requires a permit.
Disposing of hazardous waste
You must only dispose of hazardous waste at authorised sites - find licensed waste sites in Northern Ireland.
You should try to reduce and recycle your hazardous waste before sending it for disposal - see reducing your hazardous waste.
Make sure that your waste is transported by a registered or exempt waste carrier - check that your waste carrier is registered or exempt.
Disposing of hazardous waste to landfill
If you intend to take hazardous waste to a landfill site, you must use a site that is authorised to accept it.
Hazardous waste landfill sites may not be able to take all types of hazardous waste. Landfill sites will only accept certain types of hazardous waste if all of the following requirements are met:
- the landfill site's permit allows the type of waste
- waste acceptance criteria are met
- the landfill operator is prepared to accept the waste
Certain types of hazardous waste are banned from landfill sites including those that are explosive, corrosive, flammable or infectious. All liquid waste is also banned from landfill.
Hazardous waste must be treated before it is sent to landfill.
Exporting hazardous waste
Hazardous waste can only be exported for recovery or recycling (not for disposal) to another Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development country. Exports can only be made by authorised treatment facilities - see importing and exporting waste.