How to Dispose of Your Business Waste Responsibly

If you’re the owner of a business, it’s your legal responsibility to dispose of any waste your company creates. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other relevant legislation states that commercial waste has to be stored safely and disposed of legally. Failure to follow the rules and regulations means you’re committing an offence and could be taken to court. Unlike your council rates, business rates do not include the cost of business waste disposal.

Who Do the Rules Apply To?

The rules apply to anyone running a business, whether it is on the high street, in an industrial park, or in your own home. Your business could be garden clearance, a delivery service, child minding service, retail shop, hairdressers, office, second-hand shop or one of many others. The regulations cover all rubbish generated by a business or commercial enterprise.
What is Commercial or Business Waste?

There really is no clear definition of what counts as business waste, but it essentially includes anything and everything your business no longer requires, such as:

  • Post
  • Packaging
  • General waste
  • Cardboard, plastic, paper and other recyclable materials
  • Cleaning materials including the sweepings from your business floor
  • Smoking litter
  • Waste and packaging from food and drink
  • Used oil
  • Paint
  • Any other waste that has been created by your business

What are Your Disposal Options?

There are two ways you can dispose of your business waste. The first is to dispose of it yourself. If you choose to do this, there are documents that have to be completed. The documents required are Waste Transfer Notes or some form of receipt that shows where your waste has been disposed, how much there was, when it was tipped and the type of waste it was.
The other option, which is far more straightforward is to let someone else dispose of it for you. You can’t just pick a random company to dispose of your waste. It has to be a licensed waste carrier. Inspire Waste, the hazardous waste company, arrange waste collections from anywhere the UK, for example.

How to Store Your Business Waste

All your waste has to be safely stored in suitable containers. If a licensed carrier is collecting your waste, they may provide you with containers. Containers you provide yourself have to have lids so that the waste can be contained, won’t blow away and can’t be tampered with. A contractor may also provide you with trade bags. These also have to be stored in a suitable container and not put out to be collected until your collection day.

If you dispose of your waste illegally, you run the risk of being prosecuted. The maximum penalty if you come before the Magistrates Court is a fine of £50,000 plus up to 12 months in prison. Penalties are considerably more at the Crown Court. Fines are unlimited, and you could face up to 5 years in prison. Responsibly disposing of your waste is really quite easy. There’s no reason why you would want to run the risk of a heavy fine or imprisonment.