Waste Acceptance Procedures and Criteria

This page has been archived and, as of March 2012, is no-longer maintained by WRAP.

The introduction of the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) aims to obtain greater control on the nature of the waste disposed of at landfills, so to minimise the impact of this form of disposal. Furthermore, the requirement to characterise all waste disposed of will make the producers more aware of the type of waste they produce, whilst improving the overall knowledge of the constitution of the waste landfilled.



Waste Acceptance Procedures

The Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfilling of waste) and Council Decision 03/33/EC, as implemented by Schedule 10 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, set out the methodology for gathering all relevant information for the safe disposal of waste at a landfill: the Waste Acceptance Procedures (WAP). Please consult this DEFRA guidance on landfill.

The WAP consist of three levels of assessment:

  • Basic characterisation: a determination of short and long term leaching behaviour and/or characteristic properties of the waste
  • Compliance testing: periodic spot tests using simple methods to ensure the waste is still as described by the basic characterisation
  • On site verification: to confirm that the waste is as described in the accompanying characterisation documents.

Basic characterisation is the responsibility of the waste producer, and compliance testing and on site verification the responsibility of the landfill operator. A full list of requirements for basic characterisation can be found on the Environment Agency website.

Wastes that are generated regularly in the same process will require less frequent characterisation, but more frequent compliance testing.

Waste Acceptance Criteria

These are set out in the Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfilling of waste) and Council Decision 03/33/EC, as implemented by Schedule 10 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 - please also consult this DEFRA guidance.

Wastes can only be accepted at a landfill if they meet the relevant Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) for that type of landfill.
There are three different WAC for:

  • Inert waste
  • Non –hazardous waste
  • Hazardous waste

Each WAC might include:

  • A list of acceptable wastes which do not have to be tested; and/or
  • Leaching limit values for a number of contaminants; and/or
  • Limit values for other parameters.

Furthermore, there are special provisions (with related criteria) for the disposal of certain wastes under specific conditions. The provisions cover:

  • Stable non-reactive hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste deposited in the same cell with such waste
  • Gypsum based waste and other wastes with a high sulphate content
  • Asbestos waste.

You are strongly recommended to consult the Guidance on waste acceptance procedures and criteria from the Environment Agency website and the Environmental Permitting Guidance - The Landfill Directive from the DEFRA website.