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This page provides an overview of specific laws on waste. Please note that the list is not meant to be exhaustive as it primarily addresses the legal position in England and Wales. Other laws may apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland and we recommend that you seek further legal advice to ensure that any action taken is in within the law.

  • Provides the definition of waste.
  • Establishes the statutory duty of care.
  • Lays out waste offences.
  • Sets out the duties of the relevant authorities (i.e. Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales, Waste Collection and Disposal Authorities).
  • Establishes the Waste Management Licensing System.
  • Replaces the Special Waste Regulations 1996.
  • Provides definition of hazardous waste. (See also The List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005)
  • Regulates safe management of hazardous waste.
  • Sets out requirement for cradle to grave documentation of movement of hazardous waste.
  • Collectors of hazardous waste must keep thorough records and provide the Environment Agency with quarterly returns.

The Waste (Household Waste Duty of Care)(England & Wales) Regulations 2005

  • Deals with a range of issues such as litter and fly-tipping that affect the quality of the local environment.
  • Gives local authorities more powers to deal with litter including the power to issue on the spot fixed penalties.
  • Provides a wide range of enforcement powers to deal with fly-tipping and other forms of illegal waste disposal.
  • Implements the principle of "extended producer responsibility" which requires producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to finance the collection, treatment and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
  • Sets target levels for recovery and reuse of WEEE.
  • Provides treatment standards for WEEE.
  • Provides separate collection of WEEE.
  • See also the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2012 (UK wide) which seeks to increase recycle of WEEE by reducing the use of hazardous substances in the production of electronic and electrical goods.
  • The 2007 Regulations consolidate previous versions of the producer responsibility regulations and apply to all parts of the United Kingdom.
  • The Regulations apply to businesses with over £2 million annual turnover and who handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging per annum.
  • Businesses can carry out obligations either through the individual route or by joining a registered compliance scheme.
  • Read more about packaging waste registration on Gov.UK.
  • The 2007 Regulations have been amended several time: see list of legislation here.
  • Provide a system of environmental permitting for a wide range of potentially polluting activities. These include certain types of waste operations for recovering or disposing waste. The new environmental permit has replaced the range of permits and licences that used to apply, including waste management licences.
  • Implement a number of European Directives including the Landfill Directive.
  • Transpose the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC in England and Wales.
  • Require the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to establish waste prevention programmes and waste management plans that apply the waste hierarchy.
  • Require businesses to apply the waste hierarchy when transferring waste
  • Introduce a system for waste carrier and broker registration
  • Amend the hazardous waste controls and excludes some categories of waste from waste controls.
  • Require separate collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass from 2015.

Other legislation

The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009

The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009

Hazardous Waste Regulations (Wales) 2005 SI 1806

Hazardous Waste (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 2861

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 507

Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011

Waste (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2011

The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) Regulations 2010

The Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015

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