Waste definitions

Hazardous waste

European legislation has created a list of waste types that are considered hazardous. This takes into account the origin and composition of the waste.

Hazardous wastes are defined as those having at least one of the 15 hazardous characteristics set out in the relevant regulations. These characteristics consider potential risks to human health and the environment, as follows:

  • HP 1: Explosive
  • HP 2: Oxidizing
  • HP 3: Flammable
  • HP 4: Irritant - skin irritation & eye damage
  • HP 5: Specific Target Organ (STOT) / Aspiration Toxicity
  • HP 6: Acute Toxicity
  • HP 7: Carcinogenic
  • HP 8: Corrosive
  • HP 9: Infectuous
  • HP 10: Toxic for reproduction
  • HP 11: Mutagenic
  • HP 12: Release of an acute toxic gase
  • HP 13: Sensitising
  • HP 14: Ecotoxic
  • HP 15: "Waste capable of exhibiting a hazardous property listed above not directly displayed by the original waste". 

Special waste

The term "special waste" describes wastes that contain dangerous substances but are not necessarily legally classified as hazardous. Examples: 

  • In everyone’s household: Packaging and residues of paint, cleaning products, pesticides
  • In small and medium enterprises: Waste from printing, cleaning companies
  • In large industries: Waste from chemical, automotive, pharmaceutical, petrochemical industries
  • In agricultural activities: Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides
  • In construction and demolition industries: PCBs, treated wood, flame retardants, insulation, contaminated soil
  • In the cleaning up of historical / new contamination: Sanitation of Bonfol landfill in Switzerland