Operating permit for a waste treatment facility

The requirement for a permit in order to operate a waste treatment facility (recovery or disposal) aims at preventing or reducing as much as possible the negative effects of waste production on man and on the environment.

Reducing the harmful effects of waste must be carried out:

  • where possible, by waste recovery, i.e. through reuse, recycling or any other ecologically appropriate method allowing the waste to be reintroduced into the economic system in the form of secondary raw materials after treatment;
  • failing this, through the disposal of the final waste in an ecologically and economically suitable manner, i.e. by dumping or, as a last resort, incinerating said waste.

A specific waste permit application for operating a waste treatment facility must be submitted to the Unit for Permits and Subsidies (Unité permis et subsides) of the Environment Agency (Administration de l’environnement).

Who is concerned

A waste treatment permit application must be submitted for:

  • the setting up or operating of a plant or site to be used in a professional capacity for at least one of the waste treatment processes listed in appendices I (disposal activities) and II (recovery activities) of the law on the management of waste;
  • any substantial change, i.e. the transfer, expansion or conversion of plants or sites used for these activities.

The permit may be required for establishments or businesses carrying out one of the following activities:

  • waste disposal, in particular:
    • dumping;
    • land or maritime burial;
    • incineration (without energy recovery);
    • biological or physico-chemical treatment leading to the disposal of certain compounds, etc.;
  • activities leading to the possibility of waste recovery, in particular:
    • recycling or recovery of materials;
    • regeneration of substances (solvents, acids, bases, oils, etc.);
    • energy recovery;
    • agricultural spreading of organic waste, etc.


As of certain thresholds or depending on the activity, waste recovery or disposal facilities are classified according to the nomenclature of classified establishments.

It is the case for landfills, incineration plants or waste treatment facilities using physical, chemical, biological or thermal methods.

In these cases, waste permit applications are combined with applications for an operating permit for classified establishments.

Establishments that are not subject to an operating permit for classified establishments or that fall under class 4 of the nomenclature of classified establishments must register with the Environment Agency.

It is thus advisable to check whether the facility concerned is classified in the nomenclature.

How to proceed


If the facility is listed in the nomenclature of classified establishments, the waste permit application is submitted together with the application for an operating permit for classified establishments and the applicant must gather the documents relating to it.

The following documents regarding the waste permit in particular must be added:

  • a precise description and origin of the waste to be accepted, stored and/or treated, with their European Waste Codes (EWC or CED2 in French);
  • clear and precise names of the waste treatment operations to be used for each fraction of waste concerned (on the basis of the disposal and recovery codes provided in appendices I and II of the law of 21 March 2012 on the management of waste);
  • a detailed description of the procedures, machinery and/or equipment used for the treatment of waste;
  • a plan of the site, including the place of storage of the waste in question;
  • contact details and permit numbers of the transportation / trading companies of the waste resulting from the treatment carried out;
  • a presentation of the methods used to record data relating to the waste treated;
  • an estimate of the cost of closing the site and, where applicable, of the management of the site following its closure. 

Requesting or renewing a waste permit

If the facility is subject to an operating permit for calssified establishments, it is sufficient to add a copy of the waste permit application to the application for an operating permit for classified establishments.

The operating permit for classified establishment has the same legal status as a waste permit.

Where the establishment in question does not require a classified establishment operating permit or when the permit reaches expiry, the waste permit application or the renewal application may be sent directly to the Environment Agency.

Operating a waste treatment facility

Establishments or businesses with a waste treatment permit are required to:

  • draw up acceptance criteria approved by an approved organisation for the waste intended to be accepted;
  • conclude an acceptance agreement with the producer or holder of waste prior to acceptance thereof;
  • have control procedures for accepted waste approved by an approved organisation;
  • prepare internal regulations and send said regulations to the competent supervisory authorities;
  • keep a journal relating to the management of the site and have it certified at least once a week by the person in charge of the site;
  • provide the Waste Division of the Environment Agency with an annual report containing the information stipulated in the permit order before 31 March of the year following the period under review;
  • have diplomas and/or certificates providing proof of the practical experience of staff;
  • prepare a manual with all the different work procedures;
  • set up a financial guarantee or any equivalent means to cover the estimated cost of the closure of the site and its subsequent management;
  • have a site acceptance report drawn up by an approved entity within one year following notification of the permit order;
  • notify the Environment Agency of the cessation of activities covered by the order as soon as possible and at least 6 months in advance according to the standard administrative procedure;
  • designate a contact person in charge of environmental issues and a replacement person and provide the Environment Agency with the names of said persons on the day that the site becomes operational at the latest.

Related permits

Depending on the type of facility and activity planned, other specific permits might be required:

Forms / Online services

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