Your waste is your business
As a business you have a legal responsibility to ensure that all of your waste is stored, transported and disposed of correctly without harming the environment. This is known as your duty of care in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 34).
Waste includes anything your business produces or acquires that is thrown away. This can range from used tea bags and discarded paper to unwanted
manufactured goods. Most types of business waste, including waste for recycling, are classed as controlled waste. Waste does not have to be hazardous or toxic to be classed as controlled waste.
Electrical, electronic and hazardous waste
If you produce, handle, transport, recover or dispose of electrical or hazardous waste you must comply with the Hazardous Waste Regulations and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive).
Hazardous waste can include chemicals, paints, drugs, tyres, fridges and freezers. For more information visit www.mansfield.gov.uk/dutyofcare or contact your waste contractor.
Your legal responsibility
Your duty of care starts from when waste is created up until its transfer to an authorised waste contractor.
Your waste must be:
- Stored correctly, appropriately and securely from the weather, vandalism, theft, and accidental damage.
- Transported correctly by a registered and authorised waste contractor.
- Documented correctly by completing waste transfer notes for all waste passed on to a waste contractor or waste management/disposal site.
- You must keep a copy of these notes for at least two years for non-hazardous waste and three years for hazardous waste.
Disposed of in the correct place or passed on to a registered and authorised waste contractor for disposal at a licensed facility.
Your duty of care also includes:
- Business waste accumulated while working at private households. (This also includes waste produced from delivering new items to
- Contractors working on your business site. (It is advisable to clarify who will be taking responsibility for the removal of any waste).
- Home-based businesses. Any waste produced from business activities is classed as business waste. You must keep it separate from your household waste and complete waste transfer notes when it is collected or disposed of.
The following are not required to produce waste transfer notes:
- Churches. All churches are allowed one domestic bin for waste.
- Residential care homes. General waste is classed as domestic waste. Any clinical waste will require a waste transfer note.
- Joint business and living accommodation. A waste transfer note is not required if the business owner lives on the premises and the amount of
waste does not exceed the domestic waste level. However, if the owner does not live on the premises but uses it for domestic purposes (e.g. renting
out living accommodation) they are required to keep their business waste separate and treat it as trade waste.
Waste collection, disposal and storage options
There are many waste collection services and container options available for all business needs. The Council offers a collection service for businesses and can provide containers ranging from waste sacks to skips. Alternatively, you can contact an authorised waste disposal contractor.
Checking your business is not breaking the law
If you think your waste is not being managed correctly you must take action to check and prevent this.
Both Mansfield District Council and the Environment Agency have a legal obligation to ensure waste transfer notes are completed and documented correctly by all businesses. Either organisation can carry out spot checks on waste transfer notes. If you are unable to produce the relevant documents you face being issued with a £300 Fixed Penalty Notice.
What happens when you break the law
Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice within 14 days of issue or continued failure to comply with the law will make you liable for prosecution. If the case is heard at Magistrates' Court you may face a fine of up to £5,000 or an unlimited fine if referred to a Crown Court.
There are many organisations that provide advice relating to business waste management and duty of care. Please see below for more information.
The Environment Agency
For waste transfer notes, more information on all waste types and guidance on the Government's statutory requirements visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
For full details on what powers your local Council has in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act visit www.defra.gov.uk
The Official Home of UK Legislation
Full legislative information can be found at www.opsi.gov.uk
This document only serves as a guide and refers to the law relating to businesses and their responsibility to waste. It does not constitute legal advice.