A problematic waste stream is a type of waste where there is currently no treatment technology available to allow it to meet waste acceptance criteria limits. We have established an enforcement position for exceptional circumstances where you want to dispose of it to landfill and it does not meet the WAC in these circumstances:
- hazardous waste that can't be treated to meet the inorganic waste acceptance criteria limits set out in the Annex to Council Decision (2003/33/EC)
- hazardous waste that can't be treated to meet the organic carbon limits set out in the Annex
- non-hazardous liquid waste where the only solution is a landfill disposal.
To find out whether it can be regarded as a problematic waste stream you will need to follow the process which is set out below.
I think I produce problematic waste, what must I do?
You must apply to register your waste as a problematic waste stream. Fill in the form below and send it to your local Environment Officer. You can get your local Environment Officer's contact details on 0370 8506506.
Incomplete forms will be returned for more information.
What must I consider when reporting a problematic waste stream?
- Have you checked if your waste is hazardous? See our guidance (WM2) on the definition and classification hazardous waste:
- What is hazardous waste?
- Can the waste be recovered, either on or off site?
- Can the production process be altered to produce a waste that does not need to be disposed of to landfill or to meet waste acceptance criteria limits?
- Can the waste be otherwise disposed of, for example by incineration with energy recovery? If not, we need an authoritative statement that it is not feasible to incinerate the waste e.g. from a published authority on the matter or from an incinerator operator.
If the waste must go to landfill:
- can the waste be treated either on or off site to meet the waste acceptance criteria?
- has it been characterised in accordance with the Council Decision annex for waste acceptance criteria?
I have submitted my form, what happens now?
- We check the form and consider your claim.
- We check whether any alternative treatment or disposal options are available for your waste.
- If we think there is an alternative, we will let you know.
- Your hazardous waste that exceeds waste acceptance criteria limits and non-hazardous liquid wastes cannot be disposed of to landfill while we consider your application.
You should store the waste on your site or another site that has an appropriate authorisation. If you are storing the waste on your own site you must ensure that your storage arrangements include appropriate measures to protect the environment. If you are in any doubt as to what these measures should be, you should contact your local Environment Agency office.
My waste has been confirmed as a problematic waste stream, what do I do now?
Once we accept the waste as problematic, you need to tell us which landfill site you want to take the waste to. The landfill site must be able to accept your waste without a risk to the environment or human health.
You or the landfill operator may need to provide us with a risk assessment to show that the waste will not cause pollution. We will also ask you to send us an action plan to describe how you will manage the waste in the future.
Why do I need an action plan for my problematic waste stream?
Your action plan will tell us what you will do so that your waste no longer needs to be considered a problematic waste.
For hazardous wastes your action plan could look at:
- how the production process can be re-engineered so that the waste is not produced
- how the waste can be treated so that it can be reused or recovered
- how the waste can be treated so that it can meet the waste acceptance criteria
- alternative disposal options, for example incineration with energy recovery.
For non-hazardous liquid wastes the plan could look at how the production process can be redesigned so that liquid waste is not produced, or can be re-used on site. It could also look at how the waste will be treated on-site so that it can be sent for off-site recovery or treatment.
How do I write an action plan?
We have produced guidance to help you write your action plan.
If you need further assistance the officer who is dealing with your application will be able to help.
What happens next?
If we accept that there is no alternative treatment or disposal option available for your waste; we have received your action plan and; are satisfied that the landfill can accept the waste, we will confirm that your waste can go to landfill.
We will approve the problem waste stream by signing the pro-forma and write to you and the receiving landfill operator with official notification of this decision.
We will keep Defra informed of progress with finding alternative routes for treatment of disposal as they are obliged to report all PWS to the European Commission.
How long will my waste be accepted as a problematic waste stream?
You must report to us regularly on progress against your action plan.
If you can't stop production, or find an alternative treatment or disposal option for the waste stream within six months, we will review the assessment of your waste as a problematic waste stream.
We may require you to undertake further investigation. Similarly, if we become aware of new technology that can treat your waste we will inform you and remove the PWS status of your waste.
'One off' problematic wastes
If you have a single load of problematic hazardous waste, or problematic non-hazardous liquid waste you may apply for our 'one off' position.
To apply, you must confirm that it's a one-off load on the pro-forma. This form goes through the same process of consideration as for any problematic waste stream.