B3.5.1 Waste


Waste is generally considered to be something which the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard. An item is discarded when it is no longer part of the normal commercial cycle or part of the chain of utility. It is considered waste until fully recovered.

The definition of waste itself is not an easy, nor straightforward one. In fact, the issue of what is and is not waste has been contested in court many times.

DEFRA have produced a report, “The Definition of Waste: Summary of European Court of Justice Judgments”. This is available here for those interested to view it. B3 – ECJCaseLaw20090209

The European Framework Directive [2006/12/EC] defines waste as:

 any substance or object … which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard”. 


s75(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 defines waste as:

“(a) any substance which constitutes a scrap material or an effluent or other unwanted surplus substance arising from the application of any process; and

(b) any substance or article which requires to be disposed of as being broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled;

but does not include a substance which is an explosive within the meaning of the [1875 c. 17.] Explosives Act 1875.

(3) Any thing which is discarded or otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved.”