Business waste and duty of care
If you operate any form of business, you have a legal responsibility to safely contain and legally dispose of any waste produced.
Legally disposing of waste
Businesses must dispose of their waste correctly, if you don’t, you could be taken to court and prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other related legislation.
The maximum penalty is a fine of £50,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment at Magistrates Court and 5 years imprisonment and unlimited fine at Crown Court. The government website has all the information needed about disposing waste and what your responsibilities are as a business.
The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations require all businesses to:
- make sure whoever collects your waste is registered with the Environment Agency and has the authority to do so
- complete a ‘waste transfer note’ for each load of waste that leaves your premises. Dispose of business or commercial waste: Waste transfer notes (GOV.UK)
- prevent waste where possible (by recycling and reusing)
- sort and store waste securely
- stop any waste being disposed of illegally (report any incidents if they do)
Please note: you have extra responsibilities if you’re dealing with hazardous waste. Hazardous waste: Overview (GOV.UK)
What counts as business waste?
Any waste that comes from a commercial activity. This includes any waste from:
- construction sites
- demolition sites
If you use part of your home to run a business, then any waste from there is also business waste and must be disposed of correctly.