The Definitive Guide to Construction Waste Soils

What are construction waste soils?

During construction, the existing ground is generally excavated to create new levels, foundations, or void space for fill materials such as aggregates. These soils can be reused on-site as general fill, however, if there is no further use for the soil and it requires removal from the site, it becomes waste material.


Are there different types of construction waste soils?

Yes, waste soils are classified to identify whether it has any hazardous properties or not. This classification can be hazardous or non-hazardous after undertaking a hazardous waste assessment using the guidance WM3. The identification and classification of wastes are regulated by the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

All waste soils must be characterised under the ‘List of Waste Regulations 2005’ and given a List of Waste (LoW) code, which is generated based on where the waste came from.

This code is applied to the material so that a receiving site or the facility can easily know whether they can accept it or not. Construction soil waste codes can be found under code section 17-05.

View the list of wastes HERE


The different types of landfill sites accepting waste soils

Landfills are classified under the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. This classification is based on the types of waste they are permitted to accept. The different types of landfills are:

Landfill classification (The type of landfill a material can be accepted at) must not be confused with waste classification (whether a waste is hazardous or not).


Does my material need to be tested?

If you believe the material potentially has hazardous properties, then a hazardous waste assessment should be undertaken by a laboratory. This is a suite of chemical analysis specifically designed to identify hazardous properties (asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons). If you suspect a material of being hazardous, for example, it may have been excavated from a previously developed (brownfield) site where an industrial process once took place, then you have a duty of care to undertake this assessment.

The next step is to decide on the end-use for your waste. If the material does not contain any hazardous properties and can be re-used elsewhere, this should always be your first choice. If you chose to send the material to a landfill site then further testing may be required, depending on the type of landfill you choose to send the waste to.

If you chose to send your waste to an inert or hazardous landfill, the landfill site is likely to require Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing. WAC testing is NOT required if you want to send your material to a non-hazardous landfill site, although they are likely to want to see other (dry) chemical analysis from a site investigation or a hazardous waste assessment.

WAC testing analyses contaminants in the leachate (water soaking out of the waste) only and NOT the waste itself. This is because un-treated leachate is highly dangerous to the environment and will pollute the ground and groundwater if not contained.


What options do I have for my construction waste soils?

There are a few options for your waste soils that can be taken:

  1. Reuse Material – If you intended to reuse the material on site then a risk assessment should be undertaken to ensure there aren’t any major risks to human health or the environment. The material could be used on another site using a Materials Management Plan in line with the CL:AIRE Definition of Waste Code of Practice, providing the material is virgin dug, clean and inert.
  2. Treatment – If the soil is deemed to be hazardous there are options to send the material to a treatment facility. Once the material has been treated it could be reused in the development of land or disposed of in a non-hazardous landfill.
  3. Landfill – Material can be sent to a permitted landfill site for disposal although this should be the last option.


What responsibilities do I have when disposing of construction waste soils?

If your business is sending waste elsewhere (i.e. landfill site) you have a legal responsibility (duty of care) to ensure that you characterise and classify your waste accurately and use the correct LoW code. This information must be included on a Waste Transfer Note and provided to the receiving site. A Waste Transfer Note can either be completed for each load being transported or one can be completed, highlighting a specific volume, which will cover multiple deliveries.

The carrier of the waste must also have a registered waste carrier’s licence to be able to dispose of the material.


If you require disposal options across the UK for inert, non-hazardous, hazardous, or soils infested with invasive plant rhizomes get in touch on 0161 647 7409 or by clicking HERE

Landfills for inert waste – Landfill operators: environmental permits – Guidance – GOV.UK (

Hazardous waste (

Dispose of business or commercial waste – GOV.UK (

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