Legal Duties for Businesses: Waste Management

1. Compliance with Regulations

Under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, businesses have a legal obligation to manage their waste effectively. Moreover this duty applies to various activities related to waste, including production, import/export, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal.

2. Understanding Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs)

A Waste Transfer Note (WTN) is a crucial document that outlines the transfer of waste from one party to another.

External Health and Safety Advisor

Every load of waste you receive or pass to others must be covered by a WTN. WTNs create a clear audit trail from waste production to disposal.

3. WTN Requirements

Retention Period: Keep copies of all WTNs for at least two years.

On-Demand Availability: Be prepared to produce WTNs when requested by your environmental regulator or local council. Therefore failure to do so can result in fines.

Checking Recipients: Ensure that recipients of your waste hold the relevant registration, permit, or exemption for the specific waste type.

4. What Should a Waste Transfer Note Contain?

A properly completed WTN should include the following information:

  • Description of the Waste:

    Clearly state the type of waste being transferred.

    Provide details about its composition, hazardous properties (if any), and any relevant characteristics.

  • Processes the Waste Has Undergone

    Specify any treatments, sorting, or processing the waste has undergone.

    This information helps the recipient handle the waste appropriately.

  • Packaging and Containment Details

    Describe how the waste is packaged or contained.

    Proper packaging ensures safe handling during transfer.

  • Quantity of Waste

    Indicate the volume or weight of the waste being transferred.

  • Place and Date of Transfer

    Mention where and when the transfer occurred.

  • Details of Both Parties

    Include the names and addresses of both the person handing over the waste and the recipient.

    Consequently, this ensures accountability.

  • Recipient’s Permit, License, or Exemption Details

    Verify that the recipient has the necessary authorization to handle the specific waste type.

  • Handover Person’s License or Registration Number

    If the person handing over the waste holds a waste management license or is a registered carrier of controlled waste, provide their relevant identification number.

European Waste Catalogue (EWC) Code:

Assign the appropriate EWC code to your waste type, This code categorises different waste streams.

Examples of these codes being:

Timber (Wood):

EWC Code: 17 02 01

Description: Wood waste that is not considered hazardous.

Allowed waste includes untreated wood, while treated wood containing hazardous substances falls under a different code.

Timber - waste managment

Plasterboard (Gypsum Drywall):

EWC Code: 17 08 02

Examples: Plasterboard, gypsum board, wallboard, sheet rock, calcium sulfate, and construction plasterboard.

Plasterboard - waste management

Example of Non-Compliance:

In 2019, a construction company in England was fined £20,000 for failing to complete proper WTNs during the transfer of construction waste. Consequently, the lack of accurate documentation led to mismanagement of the waste, violating legal requirements.

Remember, responsible waste management benefits both your business and the environment. Plus by adhering to WTN guidelines, you contribute to a cleaner and safer world.