Business Waste - Duty of Care

Flytip -commercial

The Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011 repealed the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 and introduced the Duty of Care requirements brought in under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If your business produces, handles or disposes of controlled waste it has a statutory obligation under Duty of Care legislation to ensure it is managed, handled, stored and disposed of correctly.

Controlled waste is basically any waste arising from a business premise whether it is collected for disposal at landfill or for recycling.    

Summary of Obligations

You must ensure that:-

  • Waste is stored correctly ie it must be properly contained
  • It is only collected by registered waste carriers (unless being moved by the waste producer’s own vehicles)
  • All collections are covered by a valid Transfer note that includes a written description of the waste to enable anyone handling it to do so safely and appropriately
  • Records of transfers of waste are kept for at least two years
  • Waste is only taken to an authorised facility that has the necessary waste management permit - ignorance of the disposal site is no defence if your waste is found flytipped.

For repeated transfers, where the description of the waste and all the circumstances remain the same, a ‘season ticket’ can be used to cover all transfers i.e. one note which can last up to 12 months.

Transfer of Non-Hazardous Waste

Each transfer of non-hazardous waste between parties must be accounted for on a document called a waste transfer note (WTN).   This is a legal document which must be signed by each party.   A template of a waste transfer note may be downloaded from the Environment Agency’s web-site.

Any form can be used as long as it contains all the required information:

  • A brief written description of the waste being transferred
  • The correct European Waste Code (EWC code) for the waste
  • An indication of how the waste is contained. Eg. is it loose, in a sack, skip or drum?
  • A SIC 2007 code
  • A tick box to state that the waste hierarchy has been considered
  • Identify the amount of waste being passed on, for example the number of sacks or other containers, the volume of waste or its weight
  • List your name and identify that you are the producer of the waste
  • List the name of the person you are passing the waste to and their status, for example a registered waste carrier, including their carrier’s registration number
  • Give the address where you passed the waste to the other person as well as the date and time that you gave him the waste
  • Be signed by both parties and be kept for at least two years

Remember, for repeated transfers, where the description of the waste and all the circumstances remain the same, a ‘season ticket’ can be used to cover all transfers i.e. one note which can last up to 12 months.

It is illegal to collect, or have collected, commercial or industrial non-hazardous waste without a valid WTN in place.  Although it is normal for the waste collection company to generate the waste transfer note, it is the transferor's legal responsibility to ensure that the EWC code is correct to ensure waste is handled, stored and disposed of safely and correctly.

Hazardous Waste

Transfer of hazardous waste between parties must be recorded on a legal document called a consignment note.  Hazardous waste is that which can be harmful to humans and/or the environment.  Some examples of this class of waste are:

  • lead acid batteries
  • asbestos
  • oils (except edible ones)
  • used oil filters
  • pesticides

Any business producing, holding or removing greater than 500kg of hazardous waste within a 12 month period is required to register with the Environment Agency. 

Further advice on management of non-hazardous and hazardous controlled waste may be obtained from the Environment Agency e-mail enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk or telephone 03708 506 506, mini com service, for the hard of hearing, 03702 422 549.

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