How to Effectively Manage Hazardous Waste in your Business

If your company produces hazardous waste at any point, then it is your responsibility to make sure there is a viable waste management system in place to deal with it. Failure to do so can result in damage to the environment and harm to human health.

Hazardous waste can be liquid, solid, sludge, or even contained gases. Whatever form it takes, there is a risk that it could contaminate groundwater and surface water supplies. This in turn can present a threat to human and environmental health. As a result, the UK government has outlined strict requirements for the monitoring and managing of hazardous waste.

Dealing with hazardous waste

The following guide serves to help you plan a suitable waste management system for your hazardous waste. We’ve teamed up with 8 yard skip supplier Reconomy, who are experts in managing all types of waste, to provide this overview:

Types of hazardous waste

The most common types of hazardous waste are: construction, demolition, industry, and agriculture. There are many different examples of hazardous waste, including but not limited to: asbestos, batteries, brake fluid, printer toner, pesticides, solvents, oils, and ozone-depleting substances (such as those found in some fridges).

If your company produces or stores these types of materials, then the duty of care and responsibility for these materials falls on you.

The first stage of effective hazardous waste management is to identify what the substance is. This should then be stored separately from your general waste, as well as any other types of hazardous material.

Safe storage

Of course, the first aim of hazardous waste management should be to reduce the amount of hazardous waste that your company produces. But for any that is unavoidable, it should be stored and labelled clearly so that anyone on-site knows what it is. To prevent contamination, waterproof covers should be used to prevent any run off.

Each type of hazardous waste should be stored separately, and for liquid waste, barriers or bunds should be used to prevent leakages or spills. For the duration of these materials being stored on-site, regular checks should be carried out to ensure the containers are not damaged or leaking.

Keep a classified inventory of the hazardous waste on-site as well, so that if an incident does occur, you have information available for the emergency services.

Business waste handling
photo credit: Ben Amstutz / Flickr


Hazardous waste needs to be accounted for when it is collected, so your business will need to fill out a consignment note. This note needs completing before the waste is collected.

A consignment note is required for:

  • Moving hazardous waste from one site to another within the same organisation.
  • Collecting waste produced by another business on a customer’s premises and needs moving.
  • Collecting waste from register waste carrier businesses.

A consignment is not required for:

  • Moving domestic hazardous waste. Asbestos is exempt from this and requires a consignment note.
  • Waste that is covered by a different movement note due to having been imported and exported under international shipment controls.

Details for the consignment note

To correctly fill out your consignment note, you need to accurately detail the following:

  • A description of the waste.
  • How much it weighs, in kilos. For liquid, use the appropriate volumes.
  • The chemical and biological composition of the waste.
  • The form the hazardous waste takes: solid, liquid, gas, sludge, powder, etc.

With the note filled out, you then need to pay the fee. For England and Wales, the fee is £10 per collection, or £5 per collection within a milk round. For Scotland and Northern Ireland though, the fee is usually £15.