The duty of care is a law which says that you must take all reasonable steps to keep waste safe. If you give waste to someone else you must be sure that they are authorised to take it and can transport, recycle or dispose of it safely. If you break this law, you can be fined an unlimited amount.
If your business produces any type of controlled waste you must comply with the duty of care.
Controlled waste is classed as household, commercial or industrial waste. It can be from a:
- residential home
- any other trade or business
The duty of care applies to anyone who keeps, imports, stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste. It also applies if you act as a broker and arrange any of these things.
The information on this page is only an introduction to the duty of care - it cannot be relied on as legal advice. More information is available on the Environment Agency website, or call them on: 03708 506 506.
What is the duty of care?
Working at private households
If your business carries out work in private households (building or gardening, for example), any waste you produce is classed as business waste and you must treat it as such.
If your business is home-based, any waste you produce from your business activities is classed as business waste. You must keep it separate from your household waste and treat it as business waste.
Is the cost of waste collection included in my Business Rates?
Waste collection is not included in Business Rates.
You should contact a waste management company to arrange for the collection and disposal of their waste. Alternatively, we can arrange a collection service for businesses. You will be charged for this service at the market rate for that service at the time of the request plus a 10% administration charge.
Can I use the household waste and recycling centres or street litter bins to dispose of my waste?
No, these are for the disposal of household waste only.
Business and commercial waste is not permitted at any of the sites. If you take your business waste to any of these sites then you are not complying with the legal requirements of your duty of care.
Who has authority to take waste?
Most carriers of waste have to be registered with the Environment Agency.
To be sure you're giving waste to a registered carrier, look at the carrier’s certificate of registration or check with the Environment Agency. Some certificates of registration are only valid for certain kinds of waste or certain activities. Check that it covers your type of waste.
What must I do to comply with the duty of care?
- store and transport your waste appropriately and securely so that it does not escape
- check that your waste is transported and handled by people or businesses that are authorised to do so. If a waste carrier takes your waste away, you may also need to check that the site it is taken to is authorised to accept it
- complete waste transfer notes to document all waste you transfer (your waste management company may do this on your behalf) and keep them as a record for at least two years
What do I need to be aware of as a householder using a waste?
If you're a householder and you are passing waste on to someone who is not the local council, you are now under an obligation to check that the person you are handing your waste to is authorised to take it. If you are not sure whether someone is authorised you can check with the Environment Agency.
Waste management companies
We've put together a list of waste management companies. The list is to help you find a suitable provider - we do not recommend that you must use one of these companies.
If you would like to list your service, email: firstname.lastname@example.org