Is your business breaking the law when it comes to waste disposal?

Written by: Enviro Waste | Published:

As business/trade/commercial premises, the law requires you to have a registered contractor to remove your waste, with completed Duty of Care.

The law makes it clear that you have to take the right steps to remove waste responsibly. If you hire a company to remove your business waste, you must double check that they are authorised to take it, as well as transport, recycle and dispose of it safely. You can be fined an unlimited amount if you break this law.

What is the Duty of Care?

Everyone managing waste, whether this is the disposal, recovery, transfer or production must abide by the Duty of Care. The DoC is important as it can be used to limit the amount of waste produced, as well as the waste sent to the landfill. By using this, we can define how waste can be managed from the source to it’s end, with a strong emphasis on recycling. This ultimately should assist towards a zero waste economy

What is classed as waste?

Contrary to belief, anything your business disposes of is classed as waste - it does not have to be toxic or hazardous to be a controlled waste.

The Duty of Care only applies in certain circumstances if the waste comes from your home. However, if you work from home, then the duty of care is fully applicable. This means you need to ensure that all the necessary steps are taken. There is a detailed Waste & Recycling Code of Practice if you are unsure.

Some businesses are exempt.and must register their exemption with Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Who is authorised to take waste?

Almost all waste carriers need to be registered with the environment agency or the Scottish environment protection agency. Make sure you ask for the carrier's registration and certificate.

Those who are usually exempt are voluntary and charity organisations. Again, most carriers will register their exemption with the above agencies. You must ask why if a company tells you they are except, as there are plenty of false and unreliable carriers out there. If you are unsure, you can always double check with the agencies.

Authorised transport purposes

YouGov describes this as:

  • Transporting controlled waste into Great Britain from outside Great Britain
  • Transporting of controlled waste between different places within the same premises.
  • Transporting by air or sea of controlled waste from a place in Great Britain to a place outside Great Britain

Waste brokers

A registered waste broker is someone who arranges the disposal or recycling of waste on someone else's behalf. Again, make sure you check with the agencies to see if the broker is registered.

Transfer notes

You must have an exact written description of what the waste is when it is passed on to a carrier. Furthermore, both parties involved in the transfer need to sign a transfer note.

On the transfer note itself is where you can write the description of the waste. The government has provided a model note which contains the code of practice here.

If the transfer of waste is repeated between the same parties throughout the year, only one transfer note is necessary - for example, if someone weekly collects the waste from your shop or office. The transfer note needs to include:

  • What the waste consists of and the amount it contains
  • The type of container it’s in
  • The time, date and location of the transfer
  • The names and addresses of those involved in the exchange
  • If the person transferring the waste is importing or producing the waste.
  • The registration certificate number and the name of which agency issued it.
  • If a broker is involved, you will also need to include their name and address

The transfer note must be as descriptive as possible, as someone else may need to handle the waste. It also must have the correct 6 digit reference code in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC).

Keeping records

Both parties involved will need to keep copies of the transfer notes and the description of the waste for a minimum of two years, as they may need to prove in a court of law where the waste came and how they disposed of it. A copy of the note also needs to be made available to the agencies if they request to see it.

This transfer note also needs to include a declaration that you have applied the Waste Management Hierarchy. This means you have considered reusing or recycling your waste before you have decided to dispose of it using other methods.

If you have any queries on the information please do not hesitate to contact Enviro Waste, as they strive towards a zero-waste economy.

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