Priority waste is a subset of industrial waste such as processed food waste, e-waste and liquid organic wastes. This type of waste has greater regulatory controls and duties because it: 

  • is prone to mismanagement 
  • is hazardous to human health or the environment 
  • has potential for reuse or recycling opportunities. 

Industry obligations

The duties and obligations associated with waste categories accumulate. You must manage your priority waste in accordance with the industrial and also the priority waste duties.

How to manage priority waste:

To meet the waste duties, you must:

  • classify your waste to understand correct storage, handling, treatment, movement and disposal
  • take reasonable steps to contain your waste, to prevent escape or contamination  
  • isolate your waste to enable resource recovery to occur  
  • provide information regarding the waste to the next person in the supply chain so that they can meet their duties 
  • take reasonable steps to identify and assess alternatives to waste disposal.

Additional duties apply to the transport of reportable priority waste, such as solvents, acids and contaminated soils. These waste types have the highest level of controls due to the risk they pose to the environment and human health.

Duties for reportable priority waste are:

  • report to EPA each time the waste is exchanged (waste tracking) 
  • transport only in a permitted vehicle.


Mismanagement of priority waste is a serious issue. Courts may impose a maximum fine of 120 penalty points for an individual and 600 penalty points for a business.  

Read next

Find out about lawful place

Find out about declaration of use

Find out about industrial waste

Find out about reportable priority waste

Your duty to investigate alternatives to waste disposal

Reviewed 29 September 2021