Duty of care for business waste

What is a waste transfer note?


A waste transfer note is your evidence of a transfer of waste, including what information you passed on. You must produce waste transfer notes when asked by an enforcement officer.

When you transfer waste you must include a waste transfer note with a clear written description of your waste.

What information goes on a waste transfer note?

A full description of your waste will enable anyone receiving it to safely manage it in line with their own duty of care responsibilities.

Your waste transfer note must contain the following information:

  • a description of the waste
  • where the waste came from
  • the appropriate European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code
  • the quantity and nature of the waste and how it is contained
  • the name and address of the parties involved in the transfer
  • the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) code of your business
  • an indication you have complied with the Waste Hierarchy (where applicable)
  • the place, date and time of transfer (or the period for which it is valid if you are using a season ticket)
  • any treatments or processes that have already been applied to the waste
  • signatures of both parties involved in the transfer (written or electronic)

If you do not describe your waste properly or don't pass a description onto the next holder, you may be liable if something goes wrong after the transfer.

Is my waste transfer note description adequate?

An adequate description will depend upon the type of waste and any treatment or sorting process that it has already been through.

The description should always mention any special problems, requirements or knowledge. It should also include some combination of:

  • the type of premises or business from which the waste comes (this may be enough)
  • the name of the substance or substances (if it's a single material or a simple mixture)
  • the process that produced the waste (most industrial and some commercial wastes)
  • a chemical and physical analysis (if there is doubt about the origin, processes or mixture)

You should never rely on waste carriers or waste management contractors to describe your waste for you. As the producer, you should be able to describe your waste accurately.

It is not acceptable to use simple terms such as 'general waste' or 'rubbish'.

How long do I need to keep a waste transfer note?

You must keep a copy of your waste transfer note (written or electronic) signed by yourself and the person you transfer waste. Keep any additional information with this note such as analysis results.

For non-hazardous waste, waste transfer notes must be kept for at least two years while for hazardous waste, consignment notes must be kept for three years.