Duty of care for business waste

Six top tips on duty of care for your business waste


Duty of care for waste prevents the environment from being polluted and encourages more sustainable ways to deal with waste. As a business producing waste, there are rules you must follow when dealing with waste. Use our six top tips to get a quick overview of your duty of care obligations.

1. Consider other waste options before disposal

You are expected to demonstrate good waste management by assessing waste hierarchy options for waste prevention, re-use, recycling or other recovery before the last option - disposal. Your waste could be a valuable resource and business opportunity.

2. Prevent the escape of waste

You must not allow any waste materials to escape from your control. Containers must be suitable for holding the waste during storage, transport and management. Talk to your waste carrier about the packaging requirements for safe transport.

3. Describe your waste correctly

Include a clear, accurate and detailed description of your waste with your waste transfer note and on container labels. If you don't do this you may still be liable if something goes wrong after the waste is transferred.

4. Transfer your waste only to an authorised person

You must ensure that any person or business you are transferring waste to are registered with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). If they are not registered when they should be, do not give them your waste.

5. Prevent your waste causing harm

Your responsibility for waste does not end at the gate of your business premises. You may share liability with the waste carrier for any harm caused by your waste if you ignore evidence of mistreatment. Act on any knowledge to stop the illegal handling of waste and tell NIEA immediately.

6. Keep good records

You have a duty to make sure that all important information about your waste is passed down the waste chain. If harm is caused or waste is fly-tipped it could be traced back to your business. Keep records of questions you asked or any registration enquiries you made with NIEA. This will help if something goes wrong with the later management of your waste.

Keep waste transfer notes (non-hazardous waste) for at least two years. Retain consignment notes (hazardous waste) for three years.