Welcome to


  01189 722284

  01189 242770



>> About Us

>> Services

>> Products

>> Contact Us

>> News

>> Special Waste Regs

>> Duty Of Care <<

>> Recommended Sites














Duty Of Care

Duty of Care – Section 34 of the EPA90 Act imposes a duty of care on those concerned with the controlled waste.  This applies to those who produce, import, carry, treat or dispose of controlled waste.  The legal definition of waste is 'any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it discards or intends or is required to discard'.  Waste is therefore anything you own, or your business produces, which you want to get rid of.  It can be household, commercial or industrial waste.  Certain wastes are not included within the definition; these are agricultural wastes, wastes from mines and quarries and certain radioactive wastes.

Special Waste Regulations– These regulations cover the disposal, carrying or receiving of special wastes.  Guidance is available on what constitutes a special waste but in general it covers hazardous and toxic wastes, for example acids, industrial solvents, pharmaceutical compounds, waste oils and wood preservatives.

Do They Apply to You?

Duty of Care – Duty of Care provisions apply to all manufacturing and processing companies.  Duty of Care means that a company producing waste is responsible for its proper and safe disposal, even after it has been passed to another party, in other words you are responsible for your waste from Cradle to Grave.  Breach of the duty of care is an offence, with a penalty and unlimited fine if convicted.  In a recent survey of local SMEs, many indicated that they did not monitor the quantity or composition of any of their waste streams and did not know what happened to their waste once it is removed by the contractors.  This indicates that many companies are not aware of their responsibilities under the Duty of Care provisions and risk falling foul of the legislation.  The environment Agency pursue offences and advise on legal and environmentally sound management of waste.  If, for example, waste is being burnt on your premises, then you could be deemed to be mishandling waste and causing an offence.  In addition the smoke produced could mean that you are contravening the Clean Air Act 1993. 

Special Waste – If you use chemicals or products which have hazard symbols or safety data sheets, it is very likely that you fall within the controls of these regulations.  Examples of the hazardous properties of  special waste include explosive, oxidising, flammable, carcinogenic, toxic, infectious and corrosive.

What do You Need to do?

Duty of Care – As a waste producer, you have the responsibility to ensure that it is managed properly and recovered or disposed of safely.  To help do this, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have issued a code of practice.  It is advisable to obtain a copy of the code if you are in any doubt as to your obligations.  The Duty of Care requires that:

First, it is important that you have a description of your waste.  This need only be in general terms but  must be enough to allow safe handling.

Two, it is vital that you handle and store your waste properly to avoid polluting the environment.

Three, when transferring a waste, a transfer note is needed.  This is a requirement of the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991.  This note should state the quantity of waste transferred (e.g. weight), how it has been packed and, if relevant, the type of container it has been placed in.  The transfer note should also mention any special problems relating to the waste to avoid miss-management.  It is your duty to keep a copy of the transfer note for a minimum period of 5 years.

Four, Waste may be only handed on to persons authorised to handle it.  It is the duty of the waste producer to check that the person receiving the waste is authorised.   Waste carries are registered with the Environment Agency and should have a certificate of registration.  Ask for and keep a copy of their licence and contact the Environment Agency to check if the license is still valid.

Five, your duty of care does not end here, you have to check what happens to your waste once it has been collected.  Enquire from the contractor as to the destination of waste, what will it go through and where will it be disposed of and visit the disposal site to satisfy yourself and the regulator of the safe disposal of your waste.

Special Waste – The Duty of Care also applies to special waste but additional measures are necessary.  The first action you should take is to obtain relevant information sheets and guidance on the particular waste you are handling.  It is up to you to decide whether you fall within the regulations.  Those who fall within these controls have to follow a set of procedures.  These include pre-notifying the authorities (the EA) before the special waste is moved, which is done by filling in a consignment note.  A full description of the waste should also be available.  A fee will be charged in relation to most consignments.  If you do not comply with the regulations, you could suffer a fine of up to £5,000 and/or two years in prison.

How Can We Help?

Duty of Care – The main source of advice is the Environment Agency in your region.  The code of practice referred to above, 'Waste Management The Duty of Care, A Code of Practice', can be obtained from the HMSO Publications Centre whose details can be found on the Environment Agency's web site.  It is important to realise that compliance with Duty of Care provisions is closely linked to knowing what wastes are provided, how much is produced and how it is disposed of.  Depending on the size of the company and the processes carried out this information is not too difficult to gather.  It is advisable to carry out a waste/environmental audit to collect information and identify possible waste minimisation opportunities.  This in turn could reduce waste streams, thereby reducing disposal costs.

If you are interested in a waste assessment exercise or an environmental review, we will be glad to help you.  This service is free of charge to eligible companies.  To find out, just fill in the response form and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can. Alternatively, write or contact us. 

Special Waste - These regulations are also enforced by the Environment Agency which will be able to provide guidance and help.