Almost all businesses produce waste and each business has a responsibility to minimise the amount by doing everything possible to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste.
The main points when looking into managing and disposing of waste related to your business include:
- What is trade waste?
- How do I dispose of trade waste?
- Can I put my trade waste in a general bin?
- What is ‘Duty Of Care’ regarding trade waste?
- Which commercial bins are right for my business?
What is trade Waste?
Trade waste, also called business or commercial waste (its official title is controlled waste), refers to any rubbish produced by a business or commercial activity. Therefore, whether you’re a builder looking to clear construction waste or an office discarding paper documents, it’s all categorised as trade waste and each business has a duty of care relating to the amount of waste produced and how it is disposed of.
Please Note: If you run a business from home, any waste produced in relation to the business is still classified as trade waste and as such, it cannot go into your domestic refuse bin.
As part of the duty of care in relation to the waste from your business, you will be responsible for:
- Keeping waste to a minimum by doing everything you reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste (in that order)
- Sorting and storing waste safely and securely
- Completing a waste transfer note for each load of non-hazardous waste that leaves your premises
- Checking that your waste carrier is registered to dispose of waste
- Not allowing the waste carrier to dispose of your waste illegally and to report them if they do
Please be aware that you will have extra responsibilities if you are dealing with hazardous waste.
If you would like to know more about your responsibilities in relation to disposing of commercial waste, please check out the official government website.
How do I dispose of trade waste?
There are two ways in which you can look at disposing of the waste your business produces:
Do It Yourself
If you wish to carry out any of the following as part of your business you must register as a waste carrier (England Registration)
- Transport waste
- Buy sell or dispose of waste
- Arrange for someone else to buy, sell or dispose of waste
At the time of writing, the cost of registration is usually free if you only transport the commercial waste you produce yourself.
Once you have registered, you can then look into disposing of your waste. However, this is not like taking your domestic rubbish to the tip as not all tips take commercial waste, you will be charged for the amount and type of waste you dispose, and you must complete and be able to provide a waste transfer note for each load of non-hazardous waste moved off your premises (or a document showing the same information, such as an invoice) and detailing the following information:
- The date when the waste was disposed of
- Where you disposed of the waste (the tip location)
- How much waste there was (based on weight)
- What type of waste was tipped
Please Note: You must keep a copy of the document for 2 years and be able to show it to an enforcement officer from your local council or the Environment Agency is required.
Get someone else to dispose of your waste
If you contract a third party trade waste company (such as ourselves) to dispose of the waste on your behalf, you must ensure the following:
- The company in question is registered with the Environment Agency as a licensed waste carrier
- You have completed a ‘Duty of Care’ form with your chosen contractor
- If the contract is a one-off or non-regular collection, you must complete a waste transfer note. However, if you have agreed to a regular waste collection, this information will usually be found on the ‘Duty of Care’ note that you signed with your chosen contractor.
Can I put my trade waste in a general bin?
No, it is an offence to take business waste home and place it in your domestic bin, or take it to a household waste recycling centre or to dispose of it any other way except in accordance with the Duty of Care.
What is waste duty of care?
The duty of care legislation makes provisions for the safe management of waste in order to protect human health and the environment.
Section 34(7) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 sets out practical guidance on how one can meet their waste duty of care requirements and, applies to those who import, produce, carry, keep, treat, dispose of or, as a dealer or broker have control of, certain waste within England or Wales.
The legislation states that you have a ‘duty of care’ for the waste you produce, including:
- Prevent unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste
- Prevent a breach (failure) by any other person to meet the requirement to have an environmental permit or a breach of a permit condition
- Prevent the escape of waste from your control
- Ensure that any person you transfer the waste to has the correct authorisation
- Provide an accurate description of the waste when it is transferred to another person
As the duty of care remains with you from the creation through to the disposal of waste, be sure to check that any service provider you choose has the correct accreditation and licenses. If the waste is disposed of illegally and the waste can be traced back to your business, you may still be liable. Potentially, you may receive an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to 12 months if convicted within a Magistrates court, or up to 5 years if convicted within a Crown court.
For the complete code of practice, please view the government’s Waste duty of care: code of practice
Which commercial bins are correct for my business?
Generally, commercial waste bins come in a range of sizes, usually 240, 660 or 1100 litres. However, if the amount of waste you produce is minimal, you can use specialist business waste sacks. This can also be an option if you do not believe you have a secure location for a bin.
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