Avoid producing dust and smoke

What you must do

If your activities create levels of noise, dust or odour that could cause a nuisance or complaints from the surrounding community, your local environmental health department can:

  • restrict your operations
  • stop your operations
  • require you to take steps to reduce the nuisance.

Noise, odour and other nuisances


Ensure you do not produce dark smoke from your premises. This could potentially create a visual nuisance, for example by blowing across a public highway. Dark smoke could be caused by your on site small waste oil burners or your furnaces for reprocessing metals.

All metals production and processing guidance

Oil recycling

Burning waste - your environmental responsibilities

You must not burn waste tyres, or any kind of waste on your site.

Good practice

Recycling equipment, machinery and processes

Composting, recycling and reprocessing processes which can create large volumes of dust include baling, granulation, shredding, and compaction. You should take steps to minimise the amount of dust that you produce.

Install dust extraction and suppression equipment on recycling machinery such as glass compactors or plastic balers.

Carry out your recycling processes under cover, to reduce the amount of dust being blown around your site. Regularly clean, sweep and maintain your recycling machinery and surrounding processing areas.

Minimise dirt and contaminants attached to materials for recycling. Wherever possible, clean materials before they enter your facilities for treatment or reprocessing.

Do not overload recycling machinery. This will increase stress, vibration and dust levels.

Noise, odour and other nuisances legislation

Recycling vehicles

Your vehicles may churn up dust from the ground, or shed dust from the materials they carry.

Close storage compartments on recycling collection vehicles as soon as your collections are complete. This is especially important for lighter materials such as paper, or compost. Store and transport your materials carefully to minimise the amount of dust and dirt produced.

Lay hard surfaces to protect dry ground from erosion by vehicles, and regularly sweep and clear points where your site accesses public highways.

Clean your vehicles regularly, and install wheel washing equipment at access points to your site. Ensure any contaminated cleaning water run-off is discharged legally, and does not contaminate land, surface waters or groundwater, for example if you allow water contaminated with detergent to flow into a stream.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Vehicle cleaning (including wheel washing)

Preventing water pollution

Collect rainwater runoff from your roofs and use this to dampen down dusty areas. Using collected rainwater can help to reduce your charges for the use of mains water. Install damping equipment to damp down your site during summer months.

Minimising your activities during periods of high wind or heat can reduce dust production. Enforce on site speed limits. Vehicles driving more slowly will create less dust and are less likely to spill materials on your site.

Storing materials for recycling

Store your materials under cover, to prevent dust blowing around your site. Use separate, concrete container bays to store different materials for recycling, and store treated, baled materials separately from unbaled materials. This will prevent dust or dirt from cross contaminating the clean baled materials, which are then likely be more financially valuable for recycling. Store materials away from reprocessing or treatment areas, where dust could contaminate them.


In general, most potential nuisance issues can be avoided by effective communications with your neighbours. Set up regular consultation days, when you invite neighbours to your site to learn more about your activities, and share views or concerns.

Further information

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Preventing air pollution

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