End of waste

End of waste

Waste is subject to various legislative controls, but in certain circumstances we consider if the material has ceased to be a waste, these controls will no longer apply.


We regard the waste materials as having ceased to be a waste and the term generally used is ‘End of waste’.

As we begin to consider waste as a valuable resource, we also need to consider the regulatory status of waste derived products and materials.

End of waste can normally be determined using one of three methods:

  • compliance with end of waste regulations
  • meeting a quality protocol
  • through an individual assessment on a case by case basis

End of waste regulations

Under Article 6 (1) and (2) of the Waste Framework Directive the European Commission has adopted end of waste regulations for:

  • End of Waste Regulation for scrap iron and aluminium
  • End of Waste Regulations for glass cullet

The EC regulations require that for these materials to cease to be waste they must:

  • meet specified quality criteria, and the producer or importer must be able to issue a statement of conformity on meeting these standards;
  • operator must implement a certified quality management system which can demonstrate compliance with these quality criteria

Quality Protocols

Quality protocols (QPs) set out end of waste criteria for the production and use of a product from a specific waste types. Compliance with these criteria is voluntary and is considered sufficient to ensure that the fully recovered product may be used without the need for waste management controls.

A Quality Protocol checker tool is also available (see link below) to help operators and customers understand if the requirements of the QPs.

Case by case assessment

In most cases, the decision about whether something is or is not waste is straightforward and businesses and other organisations taking the decision do not need guidance to help them make it.

Where the options listed above do not apply to the waste derived products any consideration of the status of the material must be done with regard to the following:

  • Waste law principles
  • Revised Waste Framework Directive
  • Relevant case law In England and Wales – the OSS test where Lord Justice Carnworth established the limbs of a test to determine when waste lubricating oil ceased to be a waste:
    • the waste derived material must be distinct and marketable; and
    • can be used in exactly the same way as the ordinary material it is replacing; and
    • with no worse environmental effects when compared to the ordinary material

Welsh Government and DEFRA have produced joint guidance aimed at businesses and other organisations which takes decisions on a day-to-day basis about whether something is waste or not. Businesses and other organisations should refer to this document, found in the link below, in order to determine if their material has ceased to be a waste.

Further to this, a new ‘Is It Waste’ electronic tool is now available that will allow businesses to assess and make informed decisions about whether their waste-derived material is a by-product, achieves end of waste criteria or remains a waste. It does this by allowing the business to gather the required evidence against each limb of the test. Please note that when using the ‘IsitWaste’ tool, submission to the regulator is for businesses in England only.

Natural Resources Wales do not have an end of waste panel and discussions regarding the status of the waste should be with the local Natural Resources Wales Officer.

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