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European Waste Codes



 European Waste Codes (EWC codes) are used to classify a type of waste. There is a European Waste Catalogue also known as the List of Waste (LoW). All waste that is produced has a corresponding EWC Code. It’s is imperative that you can classify and describe your waste so that it can be disposed of at the correct disposal facility point.


We also require waste declaration forms from the waste producer. These documents are part of the disposal facilities pre-acceptance criteria. Find out more on our waste declaration forms here.

Having issues with Waste Declaration?


If you have issues in declaring your waste, you can speak to our Health & Safety Team who will be happy to assist you.

01922 402140 ext 2680


Chapter and Sub Chapter Titles for Codes

Within each sub-chapter are the classification codes for individual wastes.

  • Chapter 04: Wastes from the Leather, Fur and Textile Industries

Other chapters are based on the type of waste. For example:

  • Chapter 13: Oil Wastes and Wastes of Liquid Fuels (except edible oils, and those in chapters 05, 12 and 19)

The titles of these chapters are important. The waste must fall within the scope of the title to be considered within it.

Some titles, like that for chapter 13, also exclude certain wastes from that entire chapter.

Most chapters contain several subchapters. These divide the chapter into sub-groups based on either industrial process and business activity, or type of waste.

Within each sub-chapter are the classification codes for individual wastes.

Individual entries are categorised into four types of entry, those coloured in:

  • Red and labelled AH; they are known as ‘absolute hazardous’ wastes
  • Black and labelled AN; they are known as ‘absolute non-hazardous’ wastes
  • Blue and labelled MH; they are known as ‘mirror hazardous’ entries
  • Green and labelled MN; they are known as ‘mirror non-hazardous’ entries

Mirror entry wastes are wastes that are not automatically hazardous or non-hazardous; and require assessment to determine hazardous properties.

The six-digit codes in the LoW that are hazardous wastes have an asterisk (*) next to them.

Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 state what the requirements in law are:

(a) to prevent any other person committing the offences of depositing, disposing of or recovering controlled waste without a waste management licence; contrary to the conditions of a licence; or in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to health (It should also be noted that, where a person purports to be carrying on an activity which is exempt from licensing but he fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption, he may be prosecuted under section 33(1) of the 1990 Act for carrying out a licensable activity without a licence.);

(b) to prevent the escape of waste, that is, to contain it;

(c) to ensure that, if the waste is transferred, it goes only to an “authorised person” or to a person for “authorised transport purposes”. A list of authorised persons is provided at paragraph 3.2. The list of authorised transport purposes is set out in section 34(4) of the 1990 Act which is printed at the end of this Annex;

(d) when waste is transferred, to make sure that there is also transferred a written description of the waste, a description good enough to enable each person receiving it to avoid committing any of the offences under (a) above; and to comply with the duty at (b) above to prevent the escape of waste.


Section 34 – is also know as Duty of Care.

Each holder in the waste chain shares the duty of care obligations and are legally required to report any party they believe to be in breach of The Environmental Protection Act 1990.


It is a criminal offence not take all reasonable measures available to meet your duty of care.


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Waste Classification

European Waste Catalogue codes are transposed into UK law through The List of Wastes (LOW) Regulations.

The List of Waste (LoW) is the legal classification system used for classifying waste and identifying if a waste is hazardous waste.

The list also has a set of legal instructions that explain how it has to be used. It is important these are followed because the structure of the list is designed to work with these instructions.

The LoW is divided into 20 chapters, numbered 01 to 20.

Other Frequently Asked Questions