"Any substance or object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard" is WASTE under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive (WFD) 2006/12/EC), as amended by the new WFD (Directive 2008/98/EC, coming into force in December 2010).
Once a substance or object has become waste, it will remain waste until it has been fully recovered and no longer poses a potential threat to the environment or to human health.
From this point onwards, the waste ceases to be waste and there is no longer any reason for it to be subject to the controls and other measures required by the Directive.
The Environment Agency
The Environment Agency considers waste to remain waste until fully recovered. This view also applies to waste used as aggregate/construction material in civil engineering applications.
Full recovery can be obtained when such waste is incorporated into a road or building OR, for inert waste, after processing IF such a process is conducted following the criteria specified in the relevant Quality Protocol, which provides the processors with a uniform control process from which they can reasonably state and demonstrate the recovery of their product. Further information on Quality in producing aggregates from waste can be found in the Quality Module.
Until the point of recovery, the transport, treatment, management and use of such materials needs to be undertaken in accordance with the relevant regulations - please read the Environment Agency's Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice. It is also a requirement that materials recovered from waste should not cause any harm to the environment or to human health.
It is the responsibility of the holder of the substance or object to determine, on a case by case basis, whether it is waste or not.
The information given above is believed to be accurate at the time of writing (Apr 12) but is not intended to represent legal advice. If you are proposing to undertake any activity involving waste, you should seek and rely upon expert legal advice and you are strongly recommended to liaise and consult with your local Environment Agency office.