Duty of care and Legal Compliance:
Waste legislation and licensing: Duty of care
(source and link to Defra)
What it means
The duty of care is a law which says that you must take all reasonable steps to keep waste safe. If you give waste to someone else, you must be sure they are authorised to take it and can transport, recycle or dispose of it safely.
If you break this law, you can be fined an unlimited amount.
Does it affect me?
The duty of care applies to anyone who produces or imports, keeps or stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste. It also applies if you act as a broker and arrange these things.
What is waste?
It can be anything you own, or your business produces, and you want, or are required to get rid of.
What is controlled waste?
It is household, commercial or industrial waste. It can be from a house, school, university, hospital, residential or nursing home, shop, office, factory or any other trade or business. It may be solid or liquid, scrap metal or a scrap car. It does not have to be hazardous or toxic to be a controlled waste.
What about household waste?
If the waste comes from your own home, the duty of care does not apply to you. But if the waste is not from the house you live in - for example if it is waste from your workplace or waste from someone else's house - the duty of care does apply.
How do I know what to do?
The law says you must take all reasonable steps to fulfil the duty and complete some paperwork. What is reasonable depends on what you do with the waste.
The Government has issued practical guidance on what is reasonable in different cases. This is in a Code of Practice (see "Further Advice").
Steps to take if the duty of care applies to you
When you have waste
The law says you must stop it escaping from your control. You must store it safely and securely. You must prevent it causing pollution or harming anyone.
First, make it secure. Keep it in a suitable container. If you put loose waste in a skip or on a lorry, cover it.
Second, if you give waste to someone else, check they have authority to take it. The law says the person to whom you give your waste must be authorised to take it. Box A (below) explains who is allowed to take waste and how you can check.
Third, you must describe the waste in writing. You must fill in and sign a transfer note for it. You must keep a copy of the transfer note. To save on paperwork, you can write your description of the waste on the transfer note. See Box B (below).
When you take waste from someone else
First, you must be sure the law allows you to take it.
Second, make sure the person giving you the waste describes it in writing. You must fill in and sign a transfer note. You must keep a copy of the transfer note.
What to do if something is wrong
If you suspect that someone is breaking the law, do not give waste to them or take waste from them. Tell the Environment Agency (England and Wales) or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Scotland). The Environment Agency's Enquiry Line is 0845 933 3111.
After Service Provider Appraisals:
Hercules manages a network of skip service providers.
All service providers undergo strict appraisals before approved status is granted, ensuring that our clients' obligations (with regard to ‘Duty of Care’) under current environmental legislation are met.
Approved status signifies that the service provider has demonstrated and shown appropriate licences and exemptions for the carriage, management, and disposal of waste in relation to the service they provide. In addition, provide evidence that they hold an appropriate level of insurance. To verify this information, copies of the relevant paperwork are inspected. The validity of certain documentation is also confirmed by contact with the relevant Environment Agency office.