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Waste Duty of Care

General Duty of Care

Anyone who produces, imports, keeps, stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste must take all reasonable steps to ensure that waste is managed properly. This duty of care is imposed under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It also applies to anyone who acts as a broker and has control of waste. A breach of the duty of care could lead to an unlimited fine if convicted in the Magistrates Court or in the Crown Court.

Household Duty of Care

Householders must ensure that household waste is properly disposed of. Household waste is defined in section 75(5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and includes waste from domestic properties, caravans and residential homes. The householder duty of care is provided by Section 34(2A) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (inserted by the Household Waste Duty of Care Regulations 2005). A breach of the household duty of care would also attract an unlimited fine if convicted.

Steps to take to fulfil the duty of care

General Duty of Care

If you have waste:

  • Ensure that the person who takes control of your waste is licensed to do so.
  • You must take steps to prevent it from escaping from your control.
  • Store it safely and securely.
  • Prevent it from causing environmental pollution or harming anyone.
  • Describe the waste in writing and prepare a transfer note if you intend to pass the waste on to someone else.

If you collect waste from others:

  • You must be authorised under the law to collect and receive waste.
  • Get a description of the collected waste in writing.
  • Complete and retain a transfer note.

Household Duty of Care

If you are a householder, you are required to take reasonable steps to check that people removing waste from your premises are authorised to do so.

Reasonable steps to take:

  • Ask the waste carrier to provide you with their full address and telephone number.
  • Ask to see their waste carrier licence issued by the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales.
  • Contact the Environment Agency directly on 08708 506 506 and ask for a free instant Waste Carrier Validation Check, alternatively you can check online on the Environment Agency website.


Environmental Protection Act 1990

Waste (Household Waste) Duty of Care (England & Wales) Regulations 2005

The Waste (Household Waste Duty of Care) (Wales) Regulations 2006

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

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