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UK Waste Regulations Guide

All businesses have a duty of care and legal responsibility to dispose of their waste safely and in accordance with Government regulations which can be found here. This covers all waste from floor debris to shredded paper and recyclable materials including glass and plastic. Irrespective of whether you choose a waste management company, or if you self-deliver, it is your responsibility to make sure the waste is handled and disposed of properly. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine or at worst imprisonment!

So, what is Duty of Care?

Duty of Care is your legal obligation to prevent damage to the health of people and the environment. Business waste has the potential for harm so you must do the following:

  • Sort and store waste safely
  • Use licensed waste carriers
  • Correctly complete waste transfer notes
  • Dispose of waste at licensed waste disposal premises

Sorting your Business Waste

Your waste must be sorted and stored correctly, irrespective of what it is. You must do the following:

  • Separate waste into clearly labelled containers
  • Don’t mix one type of waste with another
  • Store waste in a secure location on your site
  • Use containers that are covered and appropriate to the size of the contents
  • Make sure covers are waterproof to prevent contaminated run-off
  • Only put waste containers out for collection on the correct days

Disposing of your Business Waste

You have two options for disposal, you can either do it for yourself or hire a professional waste management company. Whichever option you choose you must adhere to these legal requirements:

  • Create waste transfer notes and keep them for at least 2 years. You may need to present them on demand to your local council or the Environment Agency. The notes should include the weight and nature of the waste, how it is contained and the date and place of transfer.
  • Any waste that you transfer must be disposed of at a licensed waste disposal facility. Fly tipping is illegal, in England alone there were over 2900 fly tipping prosecutions in 2019. Up to date stats can be found here.
  • If you use a waste management company it is your responsibility to ensure they have a valid waste transfer license, that they fill in a waste transfer note for every collection and that they dispose of your waste at licensed sites.
  • A waste transfer licence can be applied for here for a nominal fee of less than £200

Unusual Waste

If your business produces unusual waste, you may be required to comply with more stringent legislation. This includes asbestos, electrical waste or animal by products.

  • Animal by products must be registered with the Animal and Plant Health Agency. All waste types must be kept separately in air tight containers and processed quickly to avoid risk to public or animal health. A commercial note needs to be created for each consignment (excluding manure) and this must also be kept for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Hazardous waste refers to any material that could be harmful or dangerous for humans or the environment. All businesses that produce hazardous waste must be registered as a Hazard Waste Producer. Again, all waste must be clearly labelled and sealed. These containers must then be placed in secondary containers in case of spillage and collected within 90 days. A consignment note must be created for each shipment, and you must keep a record for at least 2 years.
  • Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

This refers to all electrical items including equipment powered by batteries. The maximum quantity of WEEE that can be stored in your business premises is 80 cubic metres. Again, WEEE can be stored for 90 days then it must be disposed of by a registered waste carrier.

  • Confidential Waste

Confidential waste also needs to be stored separately in confidential sack bins or consoles with locks. Licensed waste operatives must then either shred on site or collect the waste and shred within 48 hours.

Penalty Charges for Non-Compliance

Severe penalties apply if your business does not comply with trade waste disposal regulations. This includes fines of up to £50,000- and 5-year jail sentences! It is therefore vital that you take your duty of care seriously when sorting, storing, transporting, and disposing of business waste. If you would like to receive a no obligation quotation for your waste requirements, then please contact us.

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