Duty of care for business waste

Waste duty of care responsibilities and offences


Duty of care is a system where businesses should work together to reduce environmental damage. Your business has specific legal responsibilities that it must follow - if not, you may be committing an offence.

Duty of care for business waste responsibilities

Under waste duty of care legislation you must:

  • present waste correctly for collection in line with your waste collectors' instructions and waste legislation
  • get evidence from your waste carrier that they are currently registered with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • have waste transfer notes for all non-hazardous waste removed from your premises and keep these for two years
  • have consignment notes for all hazardous waste removed from your premises and keep these for three years
  • transfer waste only to a facility that is authorised to accept it - you should get a copy of the site's authorisation

Duty of care for business waste offences

Duty of care aims to prevent danger to human health or harm to the environment. It is designed to be a self-regulating system based on good business practice.

You will be committing an offence if you:

  • give waste to an unregistered waste carrier
  • do not have valid waste transfer notes and/or consignment notes for the movement of waste
  • transport waste without being registered with NIEA
  • transport waste and do not have a complete waste transfer note with you
  • accept waste without holding the relevant waste authorisation
  • keep, treat or dispose of waste without the relevant waste authorisation

If you don't manage your waste in a legal way you could be prosecuted.

More detailed guidance on your waste responsibilities is available with the NIEA duty of care code of practice (PDF, 781K).

If you are in any doubt about the legality of a waste activity contact the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' Environmental Crime section immediately.

NetRegs provides a detailed list of the legislation which underpins duty of care.