Hazardous wastes pose a greater risk to the environment and human health than non hazardous wastes and thus require a stricter control regime. This is laid down in particular in Articles 17 to 20 of Directive 2008/98/EC. It provides additional labelling, record keeping, monitoring and control obligations from the "cradle to the grave", i.e., from the waste producer to the final disposal or recovery. In addition, mixing of hazardous substances is banned in order to prevent risks for the environment and human health. Moreover, the permit exemptions that may be granted to installations dealing with hazardous wastes are more restrictive than for installations dealing with other wastes.
The classification into hazardous and non hazardous waste is based on the system for the classification and labelling of dangerous substances and preparations, which ensures the application of similar principles over their whole life cycle. The properties which render waste hazardous are laid down in Annex III of Directive 2008/98/EC and are further specified by the Decision 2000/532/EC establishing a List of Wastes as last amended by Decision 2001/573/EC. The List of Wastes is currently being reviewed (see information on the Waste Framework Directive pages.