The definition of hazardous waste is increasingly broad and regulations which come into play on May 15 will place stricter controls on the disposal, recovery and movement of this type of waste for farmers in England and Wales.
Waste is classed as hazardous if it contains dangerous substances that need to be handled and disposed of carefully in order to protect our health and environment.
The Environment Agency has produced guidance on the new rules and how to comply with them, available to download from its website. It includes examples of what is covered by the regulations, such as old asbestos and waste oil..
Under the new rules farmers will need to know what hazardous waste they are producing, make sure anyone handling it is authorised to do so, ensure it is disposed of at a registered site and use a consignment note every time they or someone else removes hazardous waste from their farm.
In addition, the new controls also mean if farmers produce more than 500kg of hazardous waste a year, excluding scrap vehicles, they must register with the Environment Agency.
This will bring them in line with other industries.
Mark Okunienski, waste policy manager at the Environment Agency, said: 'Hazardous wastes have the potential to harm human health and our environment.
'A consignment note helps you to describe your hazardous waste so other people know what it is and helps to make sure it gets to a site that can handle it. It also helps the Environment Agency track the movement of this type of waste as it has the potential to seriously damage our environment.
'We will be producing a further guidance note in early May which will tell you where you can get a consignment note, how much it costs, how to fill it out, what happens to it and how long you need to keep a copy. Farmers can find out if the person picking up their hazardous waste is authorised to do so online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/publicregister.'
'Hazardous waste controls have applied to other industries since July 2005. We anticipate that most farmers will produce hazardous waste at some point and so will need to use a consignment note when sending it off farm.
'However, we believe only 6% or so will produce over 500kg in a year, and so only these farmers will need to register as producers. We want to help farmers get ready for these changes and there is information and guidance available online and over the phone from us.'