Waste Removal

We've built our reputation on muckaway

We're moving material daily - inert, non-hazardous, or hazardous soils - to permitted sites, recycling facilities, recovery or treatment hubs, but rarely, if ever to landfill.

We're registered waste carriers across all three Ardula Group Businesses

Whilst our core waste activities centre around the tipper fleet, we also move waste glass and metal in our bulkers, and increasingly baled or bagged waste on our wagon and drags.

Our team at Ardula is particularly experienced in the review, understanding, and interpretation of intrusive site investigation reports and soil analyses.  We follow the waste heirarchy by aiming to reduce, re-use, or recycle your waste wherever possible.  We look to dispose of waste with recycling operators who recover waste and manufacture aggregate in accordance with WRAP.  Our current waste carrier registration for Ardula Limited can be downloaded here



The WRAP Quality Protocol, when applied to construction waste, sets out end of waste criteria for the production and use of aggregates from inert waste.

If the criteria are met, the aggregates will normally be regarded as having been fully recovered and to have ceased to be waste.

A quality protocol identifies the point at which waste, having been fully recovered, may be regarded as a non-waste product that can be used in specified markets, without the need for waste management controls. Quality protocols have been produced for a range of materials

More information on WRAP is available here


In applying best practice to the waste heirarchy Ardula frequently makes use of Environment Agency waste management exemptions, or the Definition of Waste Code of Practice, managed by CL:AIRE.

Our waste management guide, available to download, provides full details and background on how these options are applied, managed, and complied with, are covered in much more detail in our Ardula Waste Guidance available to download

Our duty of care as a waste carrier

We have a legal requirement to effectively manage controlled waste, the movement of which is recorded by a waste transfer note.  We retain our records electronically for the statutory period required.

The first question - Is it Waste?

The legal definition of waste is contained within the 2008 revised Waste Framework Directive (Directive
2008/98/EC). The definition is:

“…any substance or object that the holder discards, or intends, or is required to discard.”

In this context, the term ‘discard’ means not only the disposal of a material, but also its recovery or recycling
(i.e. if the material is being sent for recovery or recycling, it is waste).
If a material requires some form of treatment before it can be used, it is likely to legally be waste. For

  • Demolition material consisting of concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics that needs either crushing or screening or both prior to use
  • Soils requiring screening, treatment for contamination, or improvement prior to reuse
  • Uncontaminated soils that are intended for use on a site other than that from which they originated

The only soil material that is legally not waste is: “uncontaminated soil and other naturally occurring material
excavated in the course of construction activities where it is certain that the material will be used for the
purposes of construction in its natural state on the site from which it was excavated” (from the Waste
Framework Directive).


Once your material is perceived as waste, classification is required to determine the appropriate way to manage waste material destined for disposal, storage or treatment, including assessing the level of risk that the waste presents and ensuring that any parties receiving the waste are permitted to do so.


  • Why do we need to classify soil for disposal?
  • What is WAC testing?
  • Can I use WAC testing to classify my waste?
  • What is the correct process for waste classification?
  • What do I need to test the soil for?
  • How many samples do I need?
  • How does asbestos affect waste classification?
  • My waste is classified as hazardous – can anything be done to make it non-hazardous?
  • Are there any other options, besides landfill?
Why do we need to classify soil for disposal?
The revised Waste Framework Directive (2009/98/EC) defines waste as ‘any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard’.  There is a legal requirement to correctly classify material for disposal; in recent years, regulators such as the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency have brought cases (resulting in fines) against a number of companies for not complying with waste legislation.

Waste classification is required to determine the appropriate way to manage waste material destined for disposal, storage or treatment, including assessing the level of risk that the waste presents and ensuring that any parties receiving the waste are permitted to do so.

While a small number of landfills still don’t enforce waste classification, it should be borne in mind that the duty of care for correct waste classification lies with the producer of the waste.

As well as legal and compliance considerations, correct waste classification can also result in cost and time savings on projects.  Hazardous landfills are significantly more expensive than non-hazardous and inert landfills, and obtaining expert advice at the correct stage can often minimise the volume of hazardous waste requiring disposal.

What is WAC testing?

WAC stands for Waste Acceptance Criteria, and is used to determine whether the soil will be accepted at a particular type of landfill. The test also provides more information about how the material will behave once deposited.

WAC testing comprises two parts: solid analysis and leachate analysis.  The solid analysis determines how organic the material is and tests for some key contaminants.  The leachate analysis determines the level of contamination that will potentially leach out of the material once it is in the landfill, which could potentially impact groundwater or surface water.

There are three types of WAC testing: inert, hazardous and stable non-reactive hazardous.  A ‘full’ WAC suite covers the testing required for all three types of WAC suite.  While inert and hazardous landfills are fairly common, stable non-reactive hazardous landfills (or cells within a landfill) are much rarer; these landfills typically accept material which is non-hazardous chemically but contains hazardous levels of asbestos.  There are no WAC thresholds for non-hazardous landfills.

If the soil isn’t being disposed of to inert or hazardous landfill, WAC testing isn’t required. 

Can I use WAC testing to classify my waste?

No, WAC testing does not tell you if the waste is hazardous or non-hazardous and therefore can’t be used to classify it.  WAC testing is the second stage of the process and will only tell you what type of landfill can be used to dispose of the soil, once it has already been classified as hazardous or non-hazardous waste.

What is the correct process for soil waste classification?

For soils arising from contaminated or potentially contaminated sites, waste classification is a two stage process.  Firstly, the soil is subject to laboratory analysis and the data is used to classify the material as either hazardous or non-hazardous waste, following the procedure in Environment Agency Document WM3.

The result of waste classification is a List of Waste code, which defines the source of the material and whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous. Common examples are 17-05-03* for hazardous soils and 17-05-04 for non-hazardous soils.

Once the List of Waste code has been determined, WAC testing may be required if the soil is intended to be disposed of to landfill. Options include:

  • If the material is classified as non‑hazardous, there are two potential disposal routes, depending on the outcome of WAC testing. If the non-hazardous material passes inert WAC testing, it may be disposed of at an inert landfill, which is generally less expensive than a non-hazardous landfill.  If the non-hazardous material fails inert WAC testing, or no WAC testing is carried out, the material should be disposed of at a non-hazardous landfill.
  • Material classified as hazardous will require hazardous WAC testing prior to disposal. If the soil exceeds hazardous WAC criteria it cannot be disposed of in a landfill without treatment to get it to ‘pass’ the WAC criteria.

In some cases such as clean natural materials, it may be possible to dispose of the soil directly as inert waste without carrying out testing and classification.

What do I need to test the soil for?

Environment Agency guidance recommends testing soil for any contaminants which you reasonably expect to be present.  This will depend on the available knowledge and information of the site’s history; for example, from anecdotal evidence, historical maps, desk studies or previous site investigation data.

In practice, most testing laboratories and consultants recommend a core suite of testing which covers the most common contaminants encountered on brownfield land, such as metals, hydrocarbons and asbestos.  Additional contaminants are added to the suite dependent on knowledge of the site; for example, if the site is a substation, PCBs should be added to the analysis suite.

Some people choose to carry out WAC testing alongside the initial characterisation testing in order to avoid later delays, should WAC testing be required.

How many samples do I need?

The number of samples required is linked to the volume of soil requiring disposal, but there is no set number. 

Environment Agency guidance suggests approximate numbers of samples for different volumes to provide a statistically representative dataset, but this is very site-specific.  For example, more samples are required where the soil is more variable or where previous investigations have indicated high levels of contamination.  A reduced number of samples, or a reduced suite of testing, may also be possible if previous data is available.

It is important to collect the correct number of samples to classify each individual soil ‘population’.  For example, natural materials should be considered separately to Made Ground material, and ‘hotspots’ of contamination should also be considered separately.

How does asbestos affect waste classification?

Asbestos can affect the waste classification of soil in two ways. 

Firstly, if the concentration of asbestos fibres is greater than 0.1%, the soil will automatically be classified as hazardous waste. 

Secondly, if one or more pieces of asbestos containing material (ACM) are present, this will also render the soil as hazardous waste. An example of this includes a piece of asbestos cement or a piece of lagging, which is visible by eye.

My waste is classified as hazardous – can anything be done to make it non-hazardous?

Depending on the level of contaminants present, it may be possible to reduce a preliminary hazardous classification to non-hazardous.

Contaminated land and waste experts can assess the data and potentially amend the classification using statistics, based on the site history, or through knowledge of chemistry.

It may also be possible to delineate the area of hazardous material from surrounding non-hazardous material to reduce the volume of soil requiring expensive disposal at a hazardous landfill. Furthermore, it may be possible to treat material to reduce the level of contaminants causing the hazardous classification.

Are there any other options, besides landfill?

In most cases, disposal of soil to landfill should be considered as the last resort. It may be possible to carry out a risk assessment and reuse the material on site, or on another site, for example using a Materials Management Plan in line with the CL:AIRE Definition of Waste Code of Practice, or a U1 Waste Exemption.  Alternatively, it may be possible to send the soil to a treatment centre.



In spring 2018 there are important changes to Landfill tax that will have implications for sites receiving illegal waste.

From 1 April 2018 the scope of Landfill Tax will be extended to sites operating without the appropriate environmental disposal permit. Operators of illegal waste sites will now be liable for Landfill Tax. The new legislation contained in the Finance Bill 2017 to 2018 (and subsequent secondary legislation) will provide for:

  • Sites operating without the necessary environmental disposal permit or licence will be liable for Landfill Tax at the standard rate on all material.
  • All material at illegal sites on 1 April 2018 and any material disposed at such sites after this date will be caught by the tax.
  • Anyone who knowingly facilitates the disposal may be jointly and severally liable to any assessment.
  • HMRC will be able to charge an additional penalty of up to 100% of the tax due, and will also have the right to criminally prosecute in the most serious cases.
  • The changes only apply to sites in England and Northern Ireland because Landfill Tax was devolved to the Scottish Parliament in April 2015 and is due to be devolved to the Welsh Assembly from 1 April 2018.

Safeguards will ensure that landowners and people in the waste supply chain who, despite carrying out all reasonable due diligence, were unknowingly involved in the illegal dumping will not be liable for any tax or penalties. This means that, as long as the current Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Duty of Care requirements are complied with, innocent parties will not be liable.

HMRC will be developing clear guidance in line with Duty of Care requirements ahead of implementation