Under British law, businesses in the UK have a duty of care and a responsibility to dispose of their waste using the most appropriate methods. The main requirements are as follows:
- Adopt the Waste Hierarchy principle in order to keep waste to a minimum by preventing, reusing, recycling, and recovering waste where possible.
- Store or sort waste securely in a safe environment.
- Complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves the premises.
- Check to establish whether your waste carrier is registered. This can be done by visiting the official Environment Agency website.
- Do not let your waste carrier dispose of waste illegally. As a producer of waste, the legal responsibility for safe and correct disposal falls on you, and not the waste carrier. You have a responsibility to ensure safe disposal through an auditable document trail.
Businesses should also do the following to ensure that their waste is secured safely:
- Use suitable and EU-approved containers to prevent leakage.
- Label containers in a way which clearly stipulates what type of waste they contain.
- Use waterproof covers — where appropriate — to avoid contaminated run-off.
- Use lockable containers to safeguard your waste.
In order to have non-hazardous waste removed from your business site, a waste transfer note must be completed — an alternative can be a document that contains the same information, such as an invoice.
It’s important to register with the correct services to complete a waste transfer note — if you plan to have waste removed multiple times, you can create a series ticket.
Regarding the waste transfer note, your business and the organisation that collects your waste should:
- Fill in the sections of the note that applies to them.
- Sign it.
- Keep a copy for two years.
- Be able to present it to an enforcement officer from the local council or the Environment Agency, if requested.
Lowering the cost of waste disposal
The way forward for a business looking to lower the cost of waste disposal is waste segregation — but to ensure it works, it must be monitored closely.
Technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) is something that businesses should know about. This determines whether a business should segregate and store various types of produced waste within the business premises, prior to its collection by a waste management contractor.
Although Britain is set to leave the European Union, legislation from 2015 states that commercial and municipal waste generators are obliged to manage waste disposal correctly. They can use a third party to achieve this, but businesses will continue to remain responsible.
With the cost of landfill waste rising year or year, it’s clear that businesses need to ensure that a waste management system is in place to keep the costs of landfill waste to a minimum.