Guidance on Waste Classification and Assessment (WM3) - User Survey 2022

Closed 1 Jan 2023

Opened 1 Jul 2022


The UK’s official guidance on the classification and assessment of waste is a document called WM3.

The WM3 guidance is provided to help producers, managers, and regulators classify waste accurately, so that it can be recycled or disposed of properly. Classifying waste includes selecting appropriate waste codes and, where applicable, describing the waste’s hazardous properties following an assessment.

The guidance is due to be reviewed and refreshed in line with updated regulations, changes following Brexit, and to meet web accessibility requirements. Options for updating WM3 may not be limited to the current PDF format, and could be web service, multiple documents, or a combination of formats.

As part of the review, we have commissioned a survey to try and understand:

  • How WM3 is currently used by organisations
  • How organisations that do not use WM3 approach waste classification
  • How the guidance can be made more user friendly to different user groups, regardless of whether they use WM3

We aim to survey 450 organisations from across industry, including waste producers, the waste management industry, environmental regulators, consultants, and industry bodies. The survey is being funded and managed by Natural Resources Wales on behalf of the UK’s environmental regulators; the Environment Agency (EA), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

Your participation in the survey will provide us with crucial information about user experiences of waste classification (including from those who have and have not used WM3), and ultimately will help us to simplify and improve the guidance.

Who will deliver the survey

We have commissioned SLR Consulting to deliver this survey, who will be supported by Ainsworth & Parkinson (A&P). Companies will be contacted by phone to take part in the voluntary survey. The survey period is scheduled for July to November 2022.

The survey will be carried out remotely and the trained surveyor will log your answers to a number of questions regarding how you classify and assess your waste, your experience with WM3 (where relevant), any issues you have with waste classification, and your opinions on how a future system could make classification easier and more user friendly.

As of September 2022, users can also participate in the survey through an online questionnaire:

Waste Classification Survey – Online Questionnaire

If you are contacted to take part

To ensure that we interview a broad range of users, organisations of all sizes will be approached from across different sectors of the economy. 
When contacted, if you agree to take part, the option will be given to undertake the survey immediately or to arrange the survey at a time that is convenient. Your interview be conducted remotely by phone or video call. We will aim to collect the information we need with minimal impact on your business or your time.

Information we need to collect

We need to collect basic information about the way in which you classify your waste. This will include the processes you have in place to classify waste; if you ever use the WM3 guidance (and if so, how?), and to what extent your waste contractor(s) assist with waste classification. You will also be asked if you currently have any issues or difficulties with waste classification, and how you think the process could be made easier and the guidance more user friendly.

Please be aware that the interview should preferably be undertaken by the person responsible for waste classification at your organisation, as this will ensure we obtain accurate information and considerably reduce the length of the interview.

How we'll use your data

Your company details will only be used by the personnel booking the interview and those carrying out the survey. Information collected from you will only be used for the purpose of this survey and will be aggregated so that it will not be possible to identify individual company data once the data analysis has been completed. At the end of the survey we will ask if you would be happy to be contacted for a more in-depth interview later in the year, where we will speak with up to 20 representatives from different user groups to further understand key issues that are identified during the survey – participation in these interviews will be entirely optional.

Your data will only be used for the purpose of this survey. It will be kept secure and will not be provided to any other organisation. The independent surveyors are not government employees and are not interested in how you run your operation, nor are they looking for any infringements of waste legislation.

Survey results

Survey responses will be analysed to identify the key issues faced by different user groups regarding the classification and assessment of waste. Based on these results, recommendations will be made on how the WM3 guidance could be improved and/or replaced to meet the needs of users.

Contact us

For more information on this survey, its delivery and use of data, please contact:


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