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  • Doing your duty

    Continuing in our popular series on waste management legislation, we’ve turned the spotlight on ‘duty of care’, an aspect of legislation that applies to anybody who deals with waste.

    Duty of Care

    Anyone who produces, imports, carries, stores, treats or disposes of controlled waste has a ‘duty of care’ for that waste. Everyone in the chain is responsible for the proper and safe disposal, even after it has been transferred to someone else. The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations apply the duty of care requirements included in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

    The duty of care requirements applies to household, industrial and commercial waste also known as controlled waste. Wastes listed in Article 2 of the Waste Framework Directive are not classed as controlled waste and therefore duty of care does not apply. Waste not classed as controlled include those that are collected and transported in line with Animal By-Products Regulations or sludge supplied or used in accordance with Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations.

    There are six key requirements of duty of care. Waste holders must take reasonable steps to:

    1. Prevent unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste
    2. Prevent a breach of an environmental permit
    3. Prevent the escape of waste
    4. Transfer waste to an authorised person 
    5. Provide an accurate description of waste 
    6. Retain waste document for the correct period

    DEFRA published a ‘Duty of Care Code of Practice’ in March 2016 that further expands on the points above. This legislation makes provision for the safe management of waste to protect human health and the environment and is issued under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA). It sets out practical guidance on how to meet your waste duty of care requirements, but following the guidance does not replace your obligation to comply with the duty of care itself. 

    If you have any questions or queries about duty of care, or would simply like to speak to one of our friendly team, please contact us on 01225 524 560.