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Special waste

Special waste consignment notes (SWCN)

All special (hazardous) waste produced in Scotland must be consigned using a special waste consignment note (SWCN) bearing a unique SEPA-issued code, regardless of its final destination within the UK.

You do not have to use a SEPA-issued note; however, if you choose to design your own note, or use one from another source, you should ensure it contains all the information required by The Special Waste Regulations 1996 [Latest Available (Revised) version].

SEPA is changing the format of the notes we issue and how they can be submitted to us. As well as paper and PDF formats, we now have an Excel version, which is our preferred format. This development to introduce digital notes represents an incremental step towards the future implementation of a UK-wide digital waste tracking (DWT) service. To learn more about DWT, please sign up to the monthly newsletter and/or join the user panel.

SEPA’s PDF and Excel versions are available on this page for you to download and use. For information on how to how to complete and use SWCNs (all formats), please refer to our guidance on consigning special waste.

Until further notice, SWCNs (all formats) should be submitted to SEPA electronically by emailing them to:

SEPA has a limited stock of paper SWCNs and with our organisational aims to be a net zero organisation (Regenerative SEPA) by 2030, it is our intention not to replenish this stock and phase out the provision of SEPA issued physical SWCNs. We are unable to sell the remaining stock of paper SWCNs at present due to the reduced use of SEPA offices. We are therefore encouraging waste holders to use one of the digital-format SWCNs bearing a SEPA issued unique code (SA/SB/SC) - see below for how to purchase these.


All formats of SWCNs must bear a unique code, supplied by SEPA, consisting of two letters (prefixes) SA, SB or SC and a series of numbers, for example SA 1234567. These codes can be purchased online.

SWCN codes will be issued alongside your receipt. If you require SC codes for extended carrier rounds or landings of offshore waste, please email:

Essential mailboxes

Email address to send pre-notifications, if applicable (see guidance for when this is required)
Email address to send completed copies of SWCNs and carrier schedules
Mailbox for enquiries about completing SWCNs, or the process of consigning special waste in general

Mailbox for obtaining and requesting to purchase:

  • SA/SB codes if unable to purchase via Web payment.
  • SC codes for extended carrier rounds or landings of offshore waste.
  • General enquiries about purchasing codes.

Supporting information on SWCNs

You may use your own paperwork for special waste consignments. However, you must still purchase a unique code from SEPA to accompany them.

The paperwork must be a form corresponding to Schedule 1 to The Special Waste Regulations 1996 or "substantially to the like effect". It must also give the details required by the Regulations in respect of that consignment.

If you would like to use your own paperwork for special waste consignments, please Contact us.

When exporting special (hazardous) waste to England, Wales or Northern Ireland for treatment, disposal or recovery, the consignee who receives the waste is required to send a copy of the completed deposit note to SEPA.

Producers in England, Wales or Northern Ireland should use the paperwork for their own country, completed in accordance with the relevant domestic legislation.

You do not need to register as a producer of special (hazardous) waste in Scotland.

Special waste

Waste with hazardous properties which may render it harmful to human health or the environment is called special waste in Scotland.

Elsewhere in the UK and the EC, special waste is referred to as hazardous waste and managing and regulating it is essential to minimise any effects on the environment.

How is special waste regulated?

In Scotland, the The Special Waste Regulations 1996 [Latest Available (Revised) version] set out procedures to be followed when disposing of, carrying and receiving special waste.

The regulations are the principal piece of legislation covering special waste arising in Scotland.

How do I classify and assess special waste?

Landfill Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) analysis (specifically leachate test results) must not be used for waste classification and hazardous waste assessment purposes. This analysis is only applicable for landfill acceptance and does not give any indication as to whether a waste may be hazardous or non-hazardous.

As part of your waste duty of care you must classify the waste your business produces:

  • before it is collected, disposed of or recovered
  • to identify the controls that apply to the movement of the waste
  • to complete waste documents and records
  • to identify suitably authorised waste management options
  • to prevent harm to people and the environment

Detailed guidance on how to classify and assess waste can be found in the guidance document:

The guidance has been updated by SEPA in partnership with the Environment Agencies for England and Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. You should use this guidance if you produce, manage or regulate waste. When completing waste documentation the waste must be classified using a code It will help you select the correct code for the waste and in particular decide whether the waste is hazardous or non-hazardous.

Do the regulations apply to me?

Any movement of special waste – known as a consignment – is subject to regulation and must be monitored by its producer, consignor, carrier and consignee.

If you produce, collect, transport or dispose of special waste, you must comply with the regulations. Our guidance on consigning special waste explains operators’ obligations in more detail.

Contact us

For more help or information on any aspect of consigning special waste, please contact us.