Preparing an end-of-waste application

A comprehensive, evidence-based application is required to enable the EPA to fully understand:

  • What the waste is and how it arises 
  • How the waste is treated 
  • How the waste can be defined as ‘fully recovered’, including stating what standards, technical specifications and non-waste regulations are applicable to the end product 
  • How the fully recovered waste is to be used 
  • How such use can occur without any overall adverse environmental or human health effects

The following information is intended to ensure that you are fully informed in terms of what is required to make your application. For further details, refer to Submitting an End-of-Waste Application and Next Steps for information on how to submit your application.

The pillars of the end-of-waste test

The main part of any end-of-waste application is demonstrating that you can meet the requirements of the four pillars of the end-of-waste test. An overview of the pillars and the information that you need to provide to demonstrate that your material complies with these pillars is summarised below: 

1. Demonstrating common use for a specific purpose

Applicants must demonstrate that the material, once fully recovered, is commonly used for a specific purpose(s). Central to this, your application will need to provide details of the ‘product’ that you will generate from the fully recovered waste, including the: 

  • Current use(s) and/or intended use(s) of the material 
  • Technical requirements (standards, specifications and product legislation) that it will meet

2. Demonstrating that a market or demand exists

Your application will need to demonstrate that there is a market for the fully recovered material. This is important to protect human health and the environment because, if a market does not exist (or if this cannot be established with confidence), there is a risk that the material might either still be classified as waste or that it could later revert to being classified as a waste if it becomes necessary to discard it.

Your application will need to provide details of how the material:

  • Has been converted into a distinct and marketable product, having undergone a recovery process so that it no longer exhibits waste-related risks (the application must provide analysis relating to both the waste and the product) 
  • Has a sustainable market (the application must demonstrate the value as a product, such as providing evidence of demand and analysis of market risks)

3. Demonstrating that the material fulfils technical requirements

Having demonstrated that a market exists, you need to demonstrate that your product can access it. You can do this by providing evidence that the material is ready for its final use and does not need to undergo any further treatment, meaning that it has been ‘fully recovered’. Therefore, it can be used in the same way as the non-waste material that it replaces, so that each intended use:

  • Meets the technical requirements (all existing technical standards, specifications and legislative requirements) applicable to products that are used for the same purpose 
  • Meets any (additional) required customer specifications

However, if neither published technical requirements nor a customer specification exists with the relevant scope (for example because you have developed a new material and/or use), it may be possible for you to develop your own bespoke technical requirements in parallel to carrying out a risk assessment (see pillar four below).

4. Demonstrating no overall adverse impacts during use

Fundamental to your application, you need to ensure that no overall adverse impacts on human health and the environment will arise from the use of the material. Overall, applicants need to consider if:

  • They have demonstrated that the waste has been treated to remove all waste-related risks. 
  • The product legislation that applies if end-of-waste status is granted is sufficient to adequately minimise the environmental or human health impacts.

Applicants shall propose end-of-waste criteria that take into account possible overall adverse environmental effects of the substance or object when compared to equivalent virgin product and include concentration limit values for pollutants where necessary. It is likely that applicants will need to carry out a human health and environmental risk assessment to address the requirements of this pillar and to establish the required end-of-waste criteria.

End-of-Waste - Guidance Document Part 2 provides guidance to undertake a 3-tier risk assessment using the source-pathway-receptor approach. This is supported by conceptual models for each intended end use of your material to help you to identify pollutant linkages (pathways) from the source to all receptors (air, water, soil and living organisms). For many end-of-waste assessments, the initial (tier 1) screening risk assessment and generic quantitative risk assessment (tier 2) is likely to be sufficient. It may however be necessary to progress to a tier 3 risk assessment in more complex situations where the tier 2 assessment cannot establish that there is no significant risk.

Undertaking a risk assessment can be a complicated process requiring expert knowledge and you might decide to use a suitably qualified advisor.

In addition to demonstrating that you meet the four pillars, you will be asked to give some background information on your business. This is to help the EPA to understand the context for your application, including the nature of your business, your rationale for seeking an end-of-waste decision and the overall activities undertaken from which the fully recovered material is derived.

When you have completed the full assessment, you can then compile your end-of-waste criteria. These can include, for example, controls over sources and/or types of waste inputs; a specified recovery process; product concentration limits; and detailed product use scenarios and limitations.

Guidance and reference material

The EPA has produced the following detailed guidance, divided into part 1 and part 2, to help applicants complete their end-of-waste applications:

It is important applicants read both parts and are familiar with the background and context of end-of-waste. If you have read the guidance but you still have a question about making an end-of-waste application, email with a summary of your question.

In complex cases, you may request a pre-application discussion with the EPA. You may find it helpful to consider previous end-of-waste decisions made by the EPA.

The following general reference sources on end-of-waste may support you further in completing your application: