The short answer to what is an EWC code is the code used to identify waste as listed in the European Waste Catalogue. It is also referred to as LoW (List of Waste) or Waste Classification Code. All waste produced will have a corresponding EWC code. It is a legal requirement that any waste produced by your business that is sent for recycling or disposal must be classified using an EWC code.
The European Waste Catalogue is made up of roughly 650 codes divided across 20 chapters. Each chapter of the catalogue is subdivided into categories. The EWC code itself is consists of six digits. Whereas an asterisk next to the code denotes that the waste is considered as hazardous.
Why do you need an EWC code?
The primary purpose of identifying and following the prescribed movement and waste management options is to prevent harm to people and the environment.
Not only is it a legal requirement of your Duty of Care as stipulated by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, all reputable waste management companies will require you to include the relevant EWC code on paperwork. For example, a waste transfer note (WTN) or for hazardous waste the consignment note.
The EWC code provides a standardised description of different wastes which enables waste to be recorded and monitored effectively. Classifying the waste will help you to decide on the most appropriate treatment process. In addition, the code will also:
- identify the controls that apply to the movement of the waste
- identify suitably authorised waste management options
- provide guidance on whether waste is classified as hazardous or non-hazardous
Common EWC codes used by our customers
Our clients most commonly use the following EWC codes:
Clinical Waste – 18 01 03 (human) / 18 02 02 (animal)
Clinical waste is defined as infectious waste arising from health care activities. You can find more information on clinical waste disposal service.
Sharps Waste – 18 01 03 (human) / 18 02 02 (animal)
Whilst the code is the same we include it here to help define the types of waste we process. You may also like to read our article on how to dispose of sharps containers.
Anatomical Waste – 18 02 02
At Novus Environmental we only process anatomical waste from animals. For more information on our services please read our animal by products disposal page.
Cytotoxic & Cytostatic – 18 01 08 (human) / 18 02 07 (animal)
Pharmaceutical waste has specific treatment requirements to ensure its safe disposal. For more information, you can read our blog: How to dispose of pharmaceutical waste.
Developer 09 01 01 & Fixer 09 01 04
Chemical waste such as developer and fixer solutions are frequently used in veterinary settings. They both contain silver which can be recovered; read our services page for more information: chemical waste disposal.
Offensive waste – 18 01 04 (human) / 18 02 03 (animal)
The main sources of offensive waste are from human and animal healthcare sectors. More information can be found on: What is offensive waste?
Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste – 18 01 09 (human) / 18 02 08 (animal)
Generally created in a laboratory environment non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste includes glass vials and similar equipment. For more information on pharmaceutical waste read out blog on: How do you dispose of pharmaceutical waste?
X-ray Films – 09 01 07
X-ray film, used in clinics, contains silver particles which are recoverable.
Confidential waste – 20 01 01
We offer a secure confidential waste disposal service.
Non-healthcare clinical waste
Non-hazardous non-healthcare clinical waste can also be processed using the 20 01 99 EWC code.
Will Brexit affect EWC codes?
The EWC is already part of the UK law via the List of Wastes (LoW) Regulations. It is therefore unlikely that there will be any impact in the short-term.
How to find the correct code?
The Environment Agency has published guidance on how to identify the correct EWC code at https://www.gov.uk/how-to-classify-different-types-of-waste you can also download the waste classification technical guidance document from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-classification-technical-guidance and read the Technical Guidance WM3: waste classification – Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste.
Alternatively, you can speak to one of our experienced Novus Environmental team members.