Everyone has a legal responsibility to take steps to ensure their waste is properly disposed of by an authorised person, a registered waste carrier. This falls under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 34. A breach of the duty of care could mean that you face a fixed penalty notice (FPN) or prosecution, leading to an unlimited fine.
All householders and occupiers of a domestic property have a duty of care to ensure that waste is only transferred to an authorised person, when dealing with their household waste produced on that property. Household waste is generally considered to be any waste produced within a domestic property; this can be anything from old mattresses, furniture to household appliances. If you are hiring a tradesperson to take away waste from your property, for example, if you add your own waste to their skip, the duty of care will apply for that waste.
Businesses also have a duty of care for all waste that is produced during the course of work, as well as waste that is held on behalf of a customer. This duty of care imposes requirements on any waste holder relating to any form of business, such as:
- Securely storing and preventing the escape of waste.
- Taking steps to prevent any other persons from disposing of waste illegally.
- Only transferring wastes to an authorised person or to a person for authorised transport purposes.
- Keeping documents waste transfer notes for the last two years as these must be produced to the Council or Environment Agency on request
Registered Waste Carriers
Anyone who carries or handles waste as part of a business must be registered as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency. As part of this registration, the person or business will be given a Waste Carrier’s License (WCL). A WCL will include information on:
- Identification of the Environment Agency as the Regulation Authority.
- Details of the individual/business that is the owner of the WCL.
- The level of registration (e.g. upper or lower tier) and the registration number.
- Dates of registration and expiry.
You can access the register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers here.
Organising Waste Disposal
Ryedale District Council is licenced to deal with waste and can collect up to two items for a fee – more information about bulky waste collections can be found here.
If you are using a private contractor, make sure you check their WCL before you allow them to take your waste. It is best practice to:
- Keep a record of the person and business you paid to take your waste, including a description of the person you paid, the registration of the vehicle they used and contact information.
- Ask for and keep hold of receipts or invoices that you receive from the transaction. If you are a business, legally you must obtain a written document known as a controlled waste transfer note for any transfers that take place for the past two years.
You have an obligation to ensure these contractors are licenced, as this is an important way of preventing waste crime. Illegal waste carriers are more likely to cut corners, offer lower prices and unfairly prevent trade with legitimate waste businesses who take their environmental responsibilities seriously. They will dispose of your waste illegally, in order to avoid the charges for disposal.
The more information you keep about the waste you have had cleared the better – if illegally dumped waste is traced back to you, we will have a better chance of finding the culprits and tackling those responsible. Enforcement action will be taken if your waste is found fly-tipped. You will be contacted and if it is discovered you have failed to comply with your duty of care, this may result in a fixed penalty, or prosecution.