A new campaign has been launched to increase awareness of duty of care legislation for waste, with new research revealing that over half of UK businesses are not complying with it.
The ‘Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign aims to inform small and medium businesses about their obligations on waste.
Duty of care is a legal requirement for anyone dealing with or producing controlled wastes. A revised code of practice was published by the Environment Agency in March 2016.
Waste duty of care obligations include:
- Preventing unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste
- Preventing a breach of an environmental permit
- Preventing the escape of waste by ensuring that it is handled and stored correctly
- Checking that waste leaving a site is transferred to an authorised person or business
- Providing an accurate description of waste when it is transferred.
The Right Waste, Right Place website will be continually updated with useful information to help businesses comply and access a wide range of further resources.
A second phase of the campaign, starting in June 2016, will target specific sectors.
According to the ESA’s own research, 56 per cent of UK businesses are not complying with duty of care requirements. The vast majority of this number are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
“Very few organisations wants to actively flout the law, but most are simply not informed about what they have to do”, said Sam Corp, head of regulation at the ESA.
“Unfortunately being uninformed is no protection from the law and we believe that more companies will find themselves exposed to prosecution unless they take the right steps to comply. The Right Waste, Right Place campaign is designed to help fill the very evident knowledge gap.”
It is also hoped that improved compliance with duty of care guidelines amongst waste producers will also tackle the UK’s growing problem with waste crime by helping companies to identify rogue traders.
Fly-tipping of commercial waste rose by nearly 20 per cent last year, according to the ESA.
Mat Crocker, deputy director of waste and illegals at the Environment Agency, said: “Sadly waste crime is still a big problem in England.
“The Right Waste, Right Place campaign will help businesses to realise and practically address their obligations under law so that they can become compliant and keep waste out of the hands of criminals. In doing so we believe that most companies, no matter what size, will save money and become more efficient.”