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Your waste – your responsibility (duty of care)

Your waste – your responsibility (duty of care)

Steps to help you handle your waste correctly.

Step 1: Managing and handling your waste
If you produce, carry, import, keep, treat or dispose of waste you have a legal ‘duty of care’ to make sure your waste is handled safely and only passed to people authorised to receive it.
You should consider:
what type of waste you are producing – if you produce hazardous waste you need to be registered with the Environment Agency:

Hazardous waste
how you are storing the waste – make sure the waste is safely contained so it doesn’t leak or blow away
how to minimise environmental impacts through waste prevention, re-use, recycling and recovery – this can also help save money on disposal costs

Step 2: Using waste contractors
It is your responsibility to make sure the person who collects your waste is a registered waste carrier and is taking the waste to a legitimate site.
You must:
insist on seeing the original copy of their waste carrier’s certificate. If their certificate is not available ask for a ‘copy card’ issued by the Environment Agency.

Do not use a contractor if you’re not sure they are registered to carry waste.

Step 3: Keep a record
Keep a record of your waste carriers’ details in case they dispose of your waste illegally and it is traced back to you.
Make sure you:
get a copy of the waste transfer note for non-hazardous waste, or a consignment note for hazardous waste, from the person who takes your waste away. This describes the waste you passed on, where you passed it and to whom you passed it on to – for more information see:

Hazardous waste

make a note of the vehicle registration number, make and model
request and keep invoices and receipts: keep this information for two years to protect yourself from any comeback
The template waste transfer note covers all the information you need to keep in accordance with the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. The template can be completed on a computer or printed:

Government plans to streamline environmental legislation
Among the measures proposed is that in future other forms of evidence (eg invoices) may be acceptable to record information covering the transfer of waste, instead of requiring separate waste transfer notes. Government is considering options and consulting on these shortly.

Government guidance
Defra has produced statutory guidance for the Duty of Care (ISBN 011753210X).

Government are planning to consult on a new waste management code of practice in 2014 and will make amendments following this consultation. The new code will continue to have a statutory role and will be applicable within England and Wales.

National electronic duty of care programme (edoc)
EU Life+ logoThe edoc programme aims to modernise the way waste data is collected in the UK. It will create a national web-based system to capture information from production to collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste.

The new system will move from the current paper-based system of waste transfer notes and make it easier to understand how waste is handled.

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