All businesses have a Duty of Care for waste
If you produce rubbish you have a legal responsibility to ensure that you produce, store, transport and dispose of your business' waste without harming the environment. This is called the duty of care (DOC). The DOC is covered by Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991.
You are responsible for your waste from when you produce it until you have transferred it to a licensed waste carrier. You can check if your waste collector is licensed to take your waste through this Environment Agency link.
The DOC requires you to ensure that:
- you store your waste securely so that it does not escape - tie up bags, flatten and bundle boxes, close bin lids, prevent liquids from leaking out of bags.
- you ensure your waste is transported by licensed waste carrier – either Westminster or a private operator.
- you complete a Waste Transfer Note (WTN) – for every transfer of waste or for a specified period - and keep a copy of it for at least two years.
More information on your Duty of Care can be obtained from DEFRA through this link.
Waste Transfer Notes
A Waste Transfer Note (or WTN) is issued whenever rubbish changes hands to show proof that your business has done its bit by giving it to someone who is allowed to take the rubbish and won’t dump it in a lay-by somewhere. A WTN can be issued to cover a particular collection, for example for an ad-hoc collection during a floor clear-out or refurbishment . This WTN will cover one particular collection. For regular rubbish collections, such as for the bags/bins your business places out every day, the WTN is issued once a year as a so-called 'season ticket' and will then cover multiple collections in that year. You complete, sign and return the WTN to us to ensure you are covered. Its important that you keep a signed copy of the WTN for two years as proof that your rubbish ends up where it needs to end up. If you need a spare copy of your WTN now then this can be obtained by contacting us on 020 7641 6180.
Important information contained on the WTN includes:
- A description of the type of rubbish collected, how it is contained (e.g. in bags or bins) and when it is collected
- Confirmation of Westminster's license to legally collect rubbish and details of where it is taken to
- Your company's 2007 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
- That the so called 'waste hierarchy' has been applied to any rubbish generated by your business.
An example of how a Westminster WTN is completed correctly can be found here.
The Waste Hierarchy and 2007 SIC Code
In September 2011 a major change was made by the Department of Food Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to the way in which the annual WTN is completed. A changed hierarchy of options for managing rubbish was introduced which gives top priority to preventing rubbish. When rubbish is created, it gives priority to preparing it for re-use, then recycling, then recovery (such as energy from waste incineration) and last of all landfill. You are asked to confirm on the annual WTN that you have considered all options for 1) preventing rubbish (for example by not using disposable cups or by double sided printing), 2) re-using it (for example with furniture or toner cartridges), 3) recycling it (through Westminster’s recycling scheme) and 4) recovering it (by using Westminster’s residual rubbish collection service which sends residual rubbish to energy from waste instead of landfill). The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has developed a useful tool on how to apply the 'waste hierarchy'. It can be accessed here.
In addition, it is now a requirement to state your business’ 2007 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) on the WTN. You can find the SIC code relevant to your business via this link or (for the most frequently used codes)on this quick list.
Animal By Product Regulations for raw meat, fish and poultry waste
It cannot be disposed of in the general rubbish and must never re-enter the food supply.
If you run a butcher shop, fish mongers or other outlet dealing with raw uncooked animal products you have to arrange collections of this waste though a appropriately licensed contractor. This will ensure the waste will not cause a threat to food safety and is correctly destroyed. More information on this subject can be found here.
As part of the Batteries Directive all waste portable, industrial and vehicle batteries in the UK must be collected, treated and recycled separately. Waste batteries shouldn’t be placed in the general commercial waste stream. Battery producers are paying for collection and recycling of the batteries they place on the market through Battery Compliance Schemes. Westminster can help you in disposing of batteries. Just contact us.
Pre-Treatment Regulations for commercial waste
Landfill is a method of waste disposal which will be phased out in the future, hence the pre-treatment requirement of the Landfill Directive came into force in 2007.
The requirement is that, before being disposed of in landfill, all rubbish must be treated to reduce its quantity and/or its environmental impact (make it inert). The onus is on the rubbish producer to treat the rubbish at source, for example, by separating the recyclable from non-recyclable rubbish or arrange to have the rubbish treated, for example, through sorting or an energy from waste process. Compacting, shredding and mixing do not constitute pre treatment.
Do not assume that a recycling and waste management provider will pre-treat your rubbish by default; many providers will charge you a fee to do so. If your rubbish is collected by Westminster you will always automatically comply with this legal requirement(page 12). Municipal waste (i.e. the rubbish a council collects) is even more regulated than commercial waste alone and Westminster is required to comply with any new legislation on this subject. Furthermore, the rubbish Westminster collects is processed through energy from waste and not landfilled. Of course any materials we collect separately for recycling are recycled through audited outlets.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes of it are generated every year which is enough to fill the Olympic Stadium twice.
As a business you are obliged to keep electrical waste separate. It shouldn’t be thrown in the general commercial waste. Westminster can collect waste electrical equipment through a special collection so it can be environmentally friendly recycled.
Waste Storage Requirements
Every business premises in Westminster is required to have adequate waste storage space which can accommodate the output of 3 days worth of rubbish. Please follow this link for further information.
Licenses, Policies and Certificates
The most requested documents are available for you to download below.
Commercial waste terms & conditions
Disclaimer self provided bins
Go Green and environmental policy
Veolia Westminster employer's liability insurance
Veolia Westminster public liability insurance
Veolia Westminster waste carriers license
Westminster municipal waste management strategy
In order to find a specific publication or policy (for example on Privacy, Equalities and Diversity, Equal Opportunities etc) please follow this link.
Veolia Environmental Services provides the service on behalf of Westminster. Their social responsibility policies section can be accessed through this link.
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