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Commercial and Trade Waste: Duty of Care

All business in the UK regardless of their size must comply with the Section 34 the ' Duty Of Care' provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The act requires you as a business to take reasonable measures to prevent unauthorised deposit, treatment and disposal of your waste. This means that if you operate a business you must :

  • ensure that a person or company that collects your waste is a registered waste carrier

  • have a waste transfer note that the carrier issues containing the description of waste collected for disposal (the waste transfer note can be issued for each
    collection or issued annually for regular multiple collections) how it is contained, quantity of waste, where your waste will finally be disposed of.

  • This Transfer Note must be retained for 2 years

  • if you 'self-dispose' of your waste you must be able to prove where and how (keep receipts).

Duty of care inspections

The Council is empowered to undertake 'stop and searches' on vehicles that are seen to be carrying waste, such as scrap metal, building waste, tree cuttings and similar type waste. These stops are carried out in conjunction with the police and other agencies such as the DVLA.

If you are transporting waste on a professional basis in the course of a business, with a view to profit you are required to be registered with the Environment Agency. Registration is a quite straight forward process and lasts for three years.

Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

New legislation is now in place that requires any business which generates, handles or treats waste to make certain changes on its Duty of Care Waste Transfer Note.

With immediate effect your waste transfer note must include:

  • A declaration that you have applied the waste management hierarchy to the waste you produce. This means you must consider reducing, reusing then recycling before deciding to dispose of your waste. It must also include the 2007 Standard Industry Classification Code (SIC Code) for your business.

What are the Penalties

If a business owner breaches their Duty of Care, the council, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, has the power to issue them with legal Notices

For further information on the Fixed Penalty Notices that can be issued, please see:

Prosecutions Register

A public register of prosecutions is maintained detailing details of prosecutions and formal cautions issued in the last three years. Where serious offences arise or there is a history of non-compliance, consideration will be given to pursuing prosecution or formal caution.

Before we undertake any criminal proceedings in court we have to ensure that the case is in the public interest to prosecute. We may instead offer alleged offenders the opportunity to formally admit their guilt and accept a formal caution.

Waste Management Hierarchy

You must have taken all reasonable measures to apply the waste hierarchy and follow these steps:

  1. Reduce – produce less waste in the first place by using less, keeping things longer, reusing products or machinery, or reducing hazardous contents.

  2. Reuse – check, clean, repair or refurbish whole waste products or parts to reuse in your business or in another organisation.

  3. Recycle – goods and materials that are of no further use to you may have value for others.

  4. Recovery – energy generating or bio-fuel producing businesses may need the waste you generate (trade waste collected by Dudley MBC is taken to an Energy from Waste incinerator).

  5. Dispose –burying the waste in landfill sites or burning it without recovery energy is the last resort.

Further guidance on the Waste Management Hierarchy is available from the website.

The 2007 Standard Industry Classification Code (SIC Code) for your business

Your Duty of Care Waste Transfer Note must contain your SIC code, please use the PDF document below to find the SIC code that applies to your business. The environment agency website has further information on SIC codes.

What business owners cannot do

  • Take your waste home and dispose of it with your normal domestic waste.
  • Take it to the domestic/household waste facility (Local Tip) and dispose of it with your normal household waste.
  • Put it in black bin bags and leave it outside your business to be collected.
  • Allow an unauthorised person to collect it and dispose of it without providing you with a waste transfer note.
  • Burn the waste.

Useful links