We know that employers have a duty of care to ensure that the office is a safe environment for employees and visitors. However this also means that they have got a responsibility to make sure that the waste from the workplace is safe and is being disposed of properly. By disposing of waste incorrectly could lead to a number of problems. This could create an issue for the environment but this also means that you could be breaking the law.
The Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice is issued under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and states that anyone dealing with waste must keep it safe, make sure it is dealt with responsibly and only give it to authorised businesses to take away, which means making sure they have a valid Waste Carriers Licence and making sure that they have a valid Waste Site Permit and ensure that they are taking the waste there. Failure to comply is a criminal offence with serious consequences – it can lead to prosecution.
Our team of waste experts delve into some of the most common business hazardous waste and share advice on how companies should be disposing of these items legally and safely, according to legislation and industry guidance.
We have listed a few things below which are classed as hazardous and you should check if this can be put in the bin with our team of waste management experts.
Clinical Waste –
Clinical waste is defined as waste that could cause infection or disease and is usually generated in healthcare, veterinary and research environments. This type of hazard consists of organic matter, including human, animal or contaminated equipment. To responsibly identify and dispose of clinical waste, companies are advised to work alongside professional and registered waste experts to ensure safety regulations are matched. With more sectors increasingly adopting personal protective equipment (PPE) due to Covid-19 practices, businesses of all types should consider implementing a safe and sustainable process of clinical waste management.Depending on the material of waste, disposal methods such as high-temperature incineration and steam sterilisation can be used. We highly recommend that if you’re opting for these measures, you should only work with registered and reputable companies to ensure the items are disposed of correctly.
Unused batteries –
Batteries are made up of corrosive and poisonous chemicals, making it no surprise that when they are overheated or used excessively, it can lead to a build-up of gases, causing the battery to explode, leak or become damaged. Dangers associated with damaged batteries include toxic acid exposure, flammable risks, electric shocks, and environmental hazards. Making it even more crucial that hazardous waste like this is disposed of by waste professionals, ensuring legal and sustainable guidance is followed.In the United Kingdom, batteries and accumulators are regulated to help protect the environment through the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, with the legislation covering everything from portable batteries to automotive and industrial battery packs. The legislation states that batteries must be properly disposed of at a hazardous waste collection site, recycling facility, or an electronics retailer that recycles batteries.
WEEE Waste –
WEEE stands for “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.” It refers to a directive and regulations aimed at managing and recycling electronic and electrical equipment waste to minimize its impact on the environment. WEEE regulations are in place to ensure that such waste is properly collected, treated, and disposed of to reduce the environmental and health hazards associated with electronic waste.
WEEE waste includes IT equipment such as computer screens, printers and phone lines, this also includes small household appliances such as toasters, clocks and microwaves. Electrical waste can be a widespread environmental hazard, which releases harmful toxins into the environment and contributes to a large proportion of unnecessary landfill.
If your business uses electrical or electronic equipment there are two key requirements under the WEEE Regulations. The business must firstly store, collect, treat, recycle and dispose of WEEE separately from other waste, as well as obtain proof that WEEE was given to an authorised waste management company. Fly-tipping of electrical goods, in particular, has become an increasingly common offence over recent years, with more and more people receiving sizable fines as a result.
For more information on how WasteSure can support your business with sustainable waste disposal contact our team.