Waste Management Legislation

Waste management legislation is a set of laws and regulations that applies to any business that generates waste to ensure that it is handled and disposed of responsibility so as to protect health, resources and the environment. Waste legislation covers all hazardous and non-hazardous waste types including electronic and construction waste. 

It is the responsibility of the waste producers (those whose waste is required to be disposed of) to ensure that legislation is upheld; with all relevant permits obtained, paperwork completed and records kept, with failure to comply potentially resulting in penalties. 

Detailed below is a small selection of some of the waste legislation that you and your business should be aware of, what they cover and what you need to do to comply. This is not a comprehensive list. Waste Management regulations are very complex and require knowledge and expertise to ensure compliance. We would recommend you seek advice from a waste consultant to help you dispose of your waste properly.

Classifying Waste

Classifying your waste is the important first step in correctly managing and disposing of your waste. All waste must be identified and classified before it is sent for recycling or disposal and is a requirement for all businesses that generate waste of any kind.

There are several classifications to waste, however first it must be assessed whether it is hazardous or contains persistent organic pollutants (POPs) as these types of waste must never be mixed with non-hazardous waste or another hazardous waste; this is not only illegal and your business could incur fines, it is potentially dangerous to health and the environment.

Types of hazardous and non-hazardous waste have a classification code assigned to them, also referred to as LoW (List of Waste) or EWC (European Waste Catalogue) codes that allow waste managers to know how to correctly handle, dispose of, or recycle each particular type. 

There are approximately 650 different codes assigned, in 20 chapters and then further divided into categories. Some of the more common ones are:

  • 19 12 01 - Paper and Cardboard
  • 20 03 01 - Mixed Municipal Waste Including Mixed Packaging
  • 20 01 02 - Glass Waste
  • 17 06 05* - Construction Materials Containing Asbestos  

An asterisk (*) denotes that this material is considered hazardous waste and should therefore be handled and disposed of carefully and through the appropriate channels. 


It's important to note that incorrect use or categorisation of waste is a breach of the waste duty of care regulations, so it's important that the waste disposer correctly identifies the materials in the waste.


For further information on the classification of waste and the codes associated with these, please refer to the Government guidelines.

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