When you are dealing with your waste, you have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that it is disposed of safely and in an environmentally-friendly manner.

But doing this might not be as easy as you think.

Many companies go wrong with their waste simply because they don’t realise how far their responsibility goes and what the risks are. While most of your duties are basic common sense, there are a few areas where you may not realise just how far your responsibility stretches.

So, here’s what you need to know.

What are You Expected to Do and Where is Your Liability?

As a waste producer, you have a set of responsibilities that you are required to uphold by law. This is known as the Waste Duty of Care. In general terms, the Waste Duty of Care is there to ensure the safe disposal of waste by the most environmentally friendly means.

Compliance with the Waste Duty of Care is a legal requirement and the waste producer must do two basic things:

  • You must ensure that everyone who comes into contact with the waste product has the correct permits. Permits are usually specific to a particular waste type though you can get more general waste permits too.
  • You must ensure that your waste is being treated and disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This means that you must use the waste hierarchy to determine the correct route for your waste.

Your main liability is actually the people and companies you work with to dispose of your waste. This is why checking and double checking permits is essential. It is your responsibility to make sure that any waste produced is handled compliantly all the way to disposal.

If you need to organise several stages in the waste disposal route, it can quickly become more difficult to track waste properly. To avoid any confusion and to make your life a lot easier, you should contact a trusted waste management company like WasteSURE. With our system, it simply isn’t possible for any company without the correct permit to get close to your waste so your compliance is guaranteed. With us, waste risk factors aren’t just minimized, they are completely eliminated.

Which Sites are Permitted to Accept Your Waste?

You must always ensure that your waste ends up at a permitted site. This might be a disposal site like a recycling centre or landfill but it could also be a farmer’s land if you are disposing of a waste material like non-hazardous sludge.

As the waste producer, it is your legal responsibility to check the permits of everyone who comes into contact with your waste. Even though the waste might have gone through several other parties by the time it reaches its final destination, the waste producer is still ultimately responsible for the waste at this point.

There are a variety of different permit types that take in a wide range of waste materials and disposal methods. This means that you must double check that the permit matches the waste and disposal route you have chosen. Even a small discrepancy can cause you big problems later on.

3 Checks to Perform Every Time

Before you hire any company to deal with your waste – be it a waste management company, a skip hire company or a waste carrier – you should always perform 3 basic checks to reduce the risk factors. Just asking a couple of simple questions can really help to establish whether a company is going to be great for your waste or if they are just too good to be true.

Registered Waste Carriers Licence

You are legally required to check that any company you work with has the correct permits and licences. This is really important as you could be fined for failing to use permitted companies. Even if a company has a licence, you need to make sure that it is the relevant licence to your waste type.

To check whether a company has the correct licences, you can check on the Environment Agency’s Public Register.

At WasteSURE, we use our system to ensure that every single company within our network is fully licensed and permitted. We can’t put a job through until every licence has been checked. This method means that our clients are always fully compliant and have no risk of failing to fulfil their Waste Duty of Care.  

Waste Related Convictions

You can check to see whether a company has any recent waste-related convictions on the Register of Enforcement Actions which goes back to 2000. Checking this register is worthwhile to make sure that the company you are dealing with has a good reputation and hasn’t been involved in any illegal waste practices.

Though a conviction doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t work for a company (you would hope that they have learned their lesson!), you must take this into account when you are considering the risk you are taking. If you want to be sure about your waste, it might be better to choose a company with a clean record.

A Realistic Price (Especially for Domestic Skips)

Whether you are a business or an individual producing waste, you must still ensure that you are following the Waste Duty of Care. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to be taken in by an unrealistic price for your waste if you don’t know the market value of skips for your waste type.

We are all looking for a good deal but sometimes, a cheap skip is cheap because the skip hire company is not disposing of your waste in accordance with the Waste Duty of Care. There is still a big problem with fly tipping in the UK and many people have been taken in by an unscrupulous company offering exceptionally cheap prices. Of all the waste risk factors you might expect, fly tipping is one most people don’t even consider. 

On the other hand, some people are taken in by the idea that a more expensive skip must be the better one. Again, this isn’t necessarily true. Many skip companies work on a cost-plus basis where they add a percentage onto the disposal rate. It is actually more profitable for these companies to send waste to landfill rather than follow the Waste Duty of Care and recycle as much as possible.

The best thing to do is to get a few quotes for skips when you are unfamiliar with the going rate. Do ask the skip companies where the waste will be taken and how it will be disposed too. And, if you are still stuck for answers, call a waste manager like WasteSURE and we will help in any way we can.

Though there are certain risk factors involved with waste management, as long as you are sensible and follow your Waste Duty of Care, there shouldn’t be any problems. At WasteSURE, we can make your life really simple by guaranteeing that your Duty of Care will be fulfilled as we only use companies within our network who have already been fully checked.

Give Ryan a call on 0333 301 0705 or email him at Ryan@wastesure.com to see what we can do for you.

Hannah Field

Author Hannah Field

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