Businesses and individuals often fail to appreciate their lasting duty of care when it comes to waste. There’s a misconception that if they pay a company to take the waste away, compliance with environmental and waste management regulations becomes somebody else’s responsibility.
In fact, your duty of care continues, whether you are a business or an individual householder. The law and the Environment Agency may ask you to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to make sure that your waste will be handled responsibly.
Waste Carrier Licences
The most fundamental safeguard is to make sure that whoever takes the waste away has the appropriate waste carrier licence. Sadly, there are unscrupulous operators that are not licensed and who may not dispose of your waste responsibly. Even if they use official looking waste transfer documentation it doesn’t guarantee that they are licensed. If that waste is fly tipped and can be traced back to you, you could be facing prosecution and a hefty fine.
A pretty clear warning sign is any carrier that seems to be offering a bargain price. Responsible handling and disposal of waste is a costly business and is a large part of the cost when you hire a skip, for example.
Look for Upper Tier Providers
To comply with regulations, any organisation that transports other people’s waste must be licensed as an upper tier provider in the Environment Agency register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers. You can carry out a search on the Environment Agency website.
Lower tier licences only allow somebody to handle the waste from their own business and only for certain specified types of commercial waste.
The point to remember is that it is your responsibility to know. Taking somebody’s word for it when they tell you they have the appropriate waste carrier licence is not good enough and could leave you open to prosecution.
Another point that businesses miss is that if they regularly transport their own waste they will need to have a waste carriers licence, even if the waste is not hazardous. Working with a responsible waste management company can save you the time and effort of ensuring you comply with environmental regulations.
Given the mounting environmental pressures our planet faces, most businesses and individuals want to do the responsible thing as well as avoid any potential prosecution. It’s always worth taking a bit more time checking out exactly what will happen with your waste; how much will be recycled and what happens to the waste that isn’t? If you care about the environment, you should certainly care about who you choose to deal with your waste.