Design and technology courses, or craft and design courses, involve the use of a range of materials. This includes metals, wood, plastics and electrical and electronic components and equipment. Some of these materials may have hazardous properties which will affect how you store, handle and dispose of them.

What you must do


If you supply a potentially hazardous chemical, you may have to provide a safety data sheet (SDS). The SDS tells the user how to handle, store and dispose of hazardous chemicals.

For guidance about when to provide an SDS and what it should include, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet.

HSE: REACH and safety data sheets

HSENI: REACH safety data sheets

If you don't receive an SDS with a chemical, you can contact the supplier and ask for one. Suppliers who do not provide adequate instructions for using their products safely may be breaking the law.

You must make sure that your business does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours or the local community. Nuisances include smoke, dust, odour, noise and vibration. Anyone affected by a nuisance can take legal action against you or your business, or complain to your local council.

If your business causes a nuisance, or could cause or repeat a nuisance, you can be issued with an abatement notice. Your local council's environmental health department or the courts can issue abatement notices. You can be fined if you do not comply with an abatement notice.

An abatement notice can:

  • stop or impose restrictions on your operations
  • require you to carry out works or take other steps to restrict or remove the nuisance.

For further information see our guidance on Noise, odour and other nuisances.


Most businesses produce some waste that is harmful to humans and the environment. In Northern Ireland you may need to treat this waste as hazardous waste. In Scotland, you may need to treat this waste as special waste.

You must follow regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste includes common business materials and substances such as:

  • computer monitors
  • batteries
  • fluorescent tubes.

Before you reuse, recover, recycle or dispose of waste containers, you must check whether their contents are classified as hazardous/special waste. Read the label on the container or the relevant safety data sheet to help you do this.

If the contents are classified as hazardous, then you must treat the entire container as hazardous/special waste.

Your supplier may take back containers to reuse or recycle them.

Good practice

Plan carefully to minimise the quantity of materials you use and the waste material you produce. You can re-use off-cuts and unused material from one lesson in another lesson.

Separate all waste materials and store them in sealed labelled containers. A range of materials can be collected for recycling.

Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

Ensure that all materials are stored in a secure designated area.

When purchasing wood products check that they have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. This is the only internationally recognised certificate that ensures that timber has been produced in a sustainably managed forest.

Further information

NetRegs provides extensive guidance for businesses involved in the manufacture, assembly and installation of electrical and electronic equipment, metals, plastics and wood products. Although aimed at businesses, this guidance provides useful information for anyone who runs courses which involve practical elements such as wiring, design, assembly or repair of electrical or electronic equipment, or installation of this equipment in domestic or industry settings.

Useful links

Return to the menu of the More materials and equipment topics environmental topic