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FAQ Hazardous Waste in the Workplace

Here we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about hazardous waste in the workplace and how our HAZBOX service can help.

What things are classified as hazardous waste at work?

“Waste is generally considered hazardous if it (or the material or substances it contains) are harmful to humans or the environment.” Environment Agency.

Examples of hazardous waste include:

  • asbestos
  • chemicals, eg brake fluid or print toner
  • batteries
  • solvents
  • pesticides
  • oils (except edible ones), eg car oil
  • equipment containing ozone depleting substances, eg fridges
  • hazardous waste containers


Which hazardous items are most often thrown away with general waste?

Cawleys research, conducted on our behalf by YouGov among a sample of 1,189 adults across the UK, showed that at work people dispose of following items with ordinary waste.

  • Light bulbs 26%
  • Batteries 22%
  • Aerosols 17%
  • Empty tins or containers 16%
  • Glue or adhesives 16%
  • Ink / printer cartridges 15%
  • Cleaning products such as bleach 15%
  • Cables or power adapters 13%
  • Phone or camera chargers 13%
  • Paint tins 10%
  • Fly spray or pesticides 9%
  • USB sticks 5%


Where can I find a list of all items which are classed as hazardous waste?

If you are wondering whether a particular item is hazardous you can check it against this list provided by the Environment Agency,

What are the rules about handling hazardous waste?

When dealing with any items on the list of hazardous waste there is a rigorous system to follow which begins with correctly identifying and classifying your hazardous waste.

Your description must include:

  • the waste classification code
  • the type of premises or business where the waste was produced
  • the name of the substance or substances
  • the process that produced the waste
  • a chemical and physical analysis
  • any special problems, requirements or knowledge related to the waste

Cawleys can handle all aspects and compliance for you should this be required, so please call or email if we can help, 0845 260 2001 or email

Our HazBox service, with a simple, affordable monthly payment system, is designed especially to help you deal with small, everyday items of hazardous waste which are found in offices or other places of work.


What does the monthly subscription to Cawleys HazBox provide me with?

Your subscription will provide you with a UN approved and branded 77-litre HAZBOX container. 

The container will be collected twice per year and replaced with an empty container for you to refill.  If you require more collections we can provide these.

Your HAZBOX will also contain a Guidance Sheet detailing what can or cannot be placed in the box, and a battery tub to separate any batteries.

Why do I need a hazardous waste collection service like HazBox, we don’t have any hazardous waste, and are compliant?

Every business produces hazardous waste, sometimes without realising it.

We found that some customers are putting simple hazardous wastes in with the general wastes like polish, fly spray or batteries.

Sometimes staff don’t realise the items are hazardous, other times they are just knowingly ‘slipping’ the wrong item in with general waste for convenience.   The research we commissioned from YouGov proved that this is happening on a wide scale across the country.

Please take a look at our website page for guidance on what materials are classed as hazardous that you may not be aware of.

Is it a legal requirement to separate waste?

Yes, it is! Every business has a responsibility to ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe manner.

By not disposing of waste correctly, businesses could be breaking the law.  Visit the Environmental Agency website here for more information.

Why do some waste items need to be separated?

Quite simply, they are a hazard to human health and the environment and can present a real fire risk!   Fires are a serious risk for all businesses, especially when it comes to waste, and are typically started when commonplace hazardous items, like batteries and aerosols, are discarded in general waste bins.

Fires can start at any point in the waste process – in your own bin; when the bin is emptied into the waste collection vehicle; and when the vehicle is tipped at the processing facility. This can result in major fires with significant environmental and financial consequences.

A quick Google search shows this is an industry-wide concern


How do I recycle batteries?

Batteries should not be thrown into the general waste.  Batteries pose a fire risk, in addition to a potential environmental and health risk from the content, for example, if accidentally crushed or heated to high temperatures.

Batteries used in every-day items such as key boards, wireless mice, clocks and so on should be stored separately and then disposed of in a separate waste container, which will be taken to a specialist battery recycler.

Large batteries, such as those used in cars or industrial machinery are subject to different requirements and should be stored, packaged and transported according to Environment Agency guidelines.

Cawleys are experts in handling hazardous waste so for complete peace of mind and compliance please call our hazardous department 0845 260 2001 or


How do I recycle lightbulbs?

Lightbulbs, whatever size, type or shape should never be put in a container with other glass items for recycling.

Traditional light bulbs

Traditional incandescent bulbs are not recyclable. They contain metal parts, and the type of glass they are made of cannot be recycled. They should be wrapped and disposed of in general waste, where, depending on the waste management system in use will either go to landfill or be used to make energy from waste.

Modern light bulbs

Modern, energy efficient light bulbs are a type of fluorescent light bulb and can be recycled but for this to happen they must be stored separately and taken to a specialist recycling centre.

Businesses have a Duty of Care when dealing with fluorescent light strips and bulbs, and may also need to comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.

Cawleys is a specialist waste management provider to businesses, we don’t work for councils or collect household waste, so we are especially expert on helping businesses deal with items such as fluorescent light strips and bulbs in an efficient, costs effective way.


How do I recycle aerosols?

Aerosols are made from either steel or aluminium, both metals which can be recycled.  Aerosols should be recycled with other metals.  If the aerosol is not empty it is classed as hazardous and should be recycled separately from other waste.

You shouldn’t puncture, flatten or attempt to crush aerosols before recycling them.

Aerosols, when separated from other types of metal products, are recycled at specialist centres where the component parts of the aerosol are removed and recycled.  For example, the plastic elements in the cap and dip tube will be recycled with other plastics.

Some aerosols recycling centres will also capture the propellant gas in the aerosol, whereas other will allow the propellant to disperse in the air.

Cawleys specialist hazardous team has years of experience in dealing with a huge range of hazardous items, so if you have any questions or would like to book a hazardous waste collection service please get in touch  0845 260 2001 or