Duty of care explained

Duty of care was introduced under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 34) which states that it is the duty of any business to ensure that their waste is handled in a safe and responsible way and that it is transferred to authorised persons for safe transportation to a licensed disposal or recovery site. Parties involved in this 'chain' include the producer of the waste, the waste carrier and waste disposer as well as waste brokers, who may arrange for the collection of waste on behalf of someone else.

Everyone within this chain has an obligation to fulfil the duty of care until the waste has been disposed of safely.

Key points of duty of care

  • Identify the waste type. The waste producer must describe the type of waste using the appropriate six digit European Waste Catalogue code; for example, "20 03 01" is the code for commonly used "mixed municipal waste".
  • Safe storage of the waste. The waste producer is responsible for ensuring safe storage of waste to allow it to be transported safely. This includes guarding against adverse weather conditions, spillage and overfilling of containers as well as protecting against fire and scavenging of waste.
  • Authorised waste carriers, broker and licensed disposal sites. The waste producer must ensure that waste is only collected by a registered waste carrier and it is disposed of at a licensed site, which accepts the waste type being disposed. Similarly, waste brokers need to be registered with the appropriate government agency dependent on their operating region.
  • Waste Transfer Notes (WTN) A WTN must accompany the waste when it is transferred from one party of the waste chain to another. The WTN must include the following information: - Description of waste and quantity and how it is stored (e.g. in containers or sacks).
  • Waste producer details (name, address and signature of declaration).
  • Waste Carrier (name, address, License number and signature of declaration).
  • Details of waste collection including service address, date and time.
  • Waste disposal details (name, address, Waste Management License number). To reduce the time involved in completing individual WTNs for scheduled collections, an annual waste transfer note can be issued. This covers duty of care requirements for up to one year and is utilised when waste carriers collect the same amount and type of waste from a site on a regular basis.

Please note that all WTNs must be kept for a minimum of 2 years as the Environment Agency is entitled to review these at any point over this period. Ensure reasonable measures are taken to prevent breach of the duty. The duty of care highlights that all parties in the waste chain must provide evidence that all reasonable attempts have been made to prevent illegal disposal of the waste. For example, waste producers may request a confirmation (tip) ticket from a licensed landfill site for waste disposed to ensure requirements are fulfilled. Ellgia Recycling provides duty of care documentation for all customers in the form of an annual waste transfer note to ensure compliance with current legislation. It is vital that customers review information displayed on their duty of care to ensure description of waste and volume of waste is correct. If there are any changes to the production of waste, you must notify us at the earliest opportunity.