How to Dispose of Tattoo Ink Safely

tattoo ink being created in a tattoo parlour

Knowing how to dispose of tattoo ink safely is crucial for maintaining a safe and environmentally friendly tattoo parlour.

As a business owner in the UK, understanding the regulations and best practices for disposing of tattoo ink can help you stay compliant with the law and promote sustainability.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about safely disposing of tattoo ink, including UK-specific regulations and practical steps for implementation.

Table of Contents

tattoo ink going into skin by a tattoo artist in a studio

Why Safe Disposal of Tattoo Ink is Important

Tattoo ink can contain various chemicals and pigments that may be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.

Incorrect disposal can lead to soil and water contamination, posing risks to wildlife and public health.

Ensuring that your tattoo studio follows safe disposal practices is not only ethical but also a legal requirement in the UK.

Read more about disposing of other tattoo waste in our tattoo waste disposal guide.

Arm being tattooed

UK Regulations on Tattoo Ink Disposal

In the UK, tattoo ink is classified as hazardous waste due to its chemical components.

Therefore, tattoo businesses must adhere to specific regulations to ensure safe disposal.

Key regulations include:

  • Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005: This regulation requires businesses to separate hazardous waste from non-hazardous waste and use licensed waste carriers for disposal.

  • Environmental Protection Act 1990: Under this act, businesses have a duty of care to manage waste responsibly, including ensuring that waste is handled and disposed of by authorised entities.

  • Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011: These regulations mandate businesses to take all reasonable steps to apply the waste hierarchy, which prioritizes waste prevention, reuse, and recycling before disposal.
Tattoo artist colouring a tattoo on someones forearm

Steps for Safe Disposal of Tattoo Ink

1) Segregate Waste:

Separate tattoo ink waste from other types of waste.

Use clearly labeled containers to avoid contamination.

2) Use Licensed Waste Carriers:

Only use licensed waste carriers for the transportation and disposal of tattoo ink.

Verify their credentials to ensure compliance with UK regulations.

Get in touch with us for free advice!

3) Maintain Proper Documentation:

Keep records of waste disposal, including waste transfer notes and consignment notes, to demonstrate compliance with hazardous waste regulations.

4) Train Your Staff:

Educate your employees about the importance of proper tattoo ink disposal and the steps involved.

Regular training ensures everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

5) Consult a Professional Waste Management Company:

Partnering with a professional waste management company, (just like us!), can provide you with expert advice and services tailored to your business needs.

tattoo artist using tattoo ink to design someones arm


Proper disposal of tattoo ink is essential for environmental protection and legal compliance in the UK.

By understanding and adhering to the relevant regulations, tattoo business owners can ensure they are disposing of ink safely and responsibly.

For expert assistance, consider partnering with a professional waste management company like Waste Managed to help you navigate the complexities of hazardous waste disposal.


  • How do I dispose of tattoo ink in the UK?
  • What are the regulations for disposing of tattoo ink in the UK?
  • Why is it important to dispose of tattoo ink properly?

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