EWC Code Search

You can either search by chapter, or enter your waste type in the search by text box. The chapter view allows you to review all the codes in that chapter, whilst search by text allows you to search for a specific waste type. The search uses the Environment Agency’s Waste Thesaurus to match with possible EWC codes.

Please note, whilst every effort is made to keep this tool updated, it is provided with the sole intention of acting as a guide. It should not be relied upon to provide definitive legal advice and we recommend that all users fully consult official Agency guidelines (including WM3) when categorising their waste. Independent legal advice should be sought where necessary.

How to Use the EWC Code Search

Choosing the correct EWC code

There is a set way you should identify your waste code, working your way through the following list:

  1. Use chapters 01 to 12 and 17 to 20 to identify the chapter that best describes either where the waste was produced or the source generating the waste. Please ignore codes ending in ‘99’ at this stage.
  2. If you can’t find the appropriate code in step one then use chapters 13, 14 and 15 to identify the chapter that best describes where the waste was produced or the source generating the waste. Continue to ignore codes ending in ‘99’ at this stage.
  3. If these chapters still do not help you to identify the appropriate code, then use chapter 16. Again, please ignore codes ending in ‘99’ at this stage.
  4. If no suitable six-digit code has been identified throughout these chapters then you will need to go back to step one looking at codes ending ‘-- -- 99’ in one of the chapters. It is important to note that you should only use 99 codes when you cannot classify waste using any other code.

EWC Code Description
Thesaurus Entries
Thesaurus Entries
EWC Code Description

What is European Waste Classification (EWC) code?

The European Commission established the EWC codes to provide a list of waste types to use across Europe under Decision 2000/532/EC1. It categorises waste based what it is and the process or activity that produces it. The EWC is split into 20 chapters; the majority are industry-based with a few based-on materials and processes. Each individual waste type is assigned a six-digit code made up of three pairs of digits; the first two specify the chapter, the next two indicate the subchapter, and the final two show the specific waste type. Hazardous (known as special in Scotland) waste are marked with an asterisk (*) at the end of the code. There are two types of hazardous waste absolute and mirror; mirror entries have a non-hazardous code as well. These appear consecutively in the list with one marked with an asterisk (*). It is important to accurately describe waste and to do so consistently with EWC codes as they are used for all waste transfer notes , hazardous waste consignment notes and waste data returns.