Duty of care for business waste

Duty of care to store business waste correctly


All waste has the potential to pollute the environment if you do not handle or store it properly.

As a producer and holder of business waste you must act to keep it safe against:

  • corrosion or wear of waste containers
  • accidental spilling or leaking, or run-off escaping from waste unprotected from rainfall
  • accidents or weather breaking contained waste open and allowing it to leak
  • waste blowing away or falling while stored or transported
  • odour emissions through incorrect storage or decay of organic waste kept beyond maximum storage duration
  • scavenging of waste by animals or humans

How can I store business waste securely?

You need to take security precautions at sites where your business waste is stored to prevent theft, vandalism or scavenging of waste.

You should take particular care to secure certain types of waste such as:

  • material attractive to scavengers eg building and demolition materials and scrap metal
  • waste liquids which can cause pollution in the event of container damage eg use of bunds for the storage of waste oil drums
  • high risk waste eg certain types of clinical waste

You should undertake regular reviews of your business waste to ensure that it has not been disturbed or tampered with.

You are responsible for any pollution caused by materials that come from your site.

Duty of care to segregating waste correctly

Keeping different types of business waste separate is important to the rest of the chain of waste. It helps to prevent the mixing of incompatible wastes.

Waste collectors must ensure that glass, metal, plastic, paper, and card (including cardboard) is collected separately. As a business waste producer, you should take reasonable measures to provide this segregation and avoid contamination. Your employees and anyone else handling should be aware of the locations and uses of each segregated waste container.

You must not mix hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste, unless it is permitted as part of a disposal or recovery operation.

Using the right waste container

You must store all waste materials safely and securely in suitable containers such as skips, intermediate bulk containers or drums. Keep the waste containers in good condition.

Ensure that you label containers clearly with their contents, so that the correct waste is stored in them and future holders will know what they contain. If you reuse containers, make sure that you remove any old labels.

Ensure that waste cannot blow away. If you store waste in skips or other similar containers, ensure that they are covered or netted. Store waste under cover if being exposed to rain will prevent its reuse or cause contaminated run-off.