Waste Duty of Care

A code of practice has been published by the Environment Agency, which sets out practical guidance on how waste duty of care (DoC) requirements can be met. The code of practice applies to anyone that produces, carries, keeps, disposes of, treats, imports or has control of waste in England or Wales. It also applies to operators not based in England or Wales who collect wastes from England/Wales or, alternately, those outside England/Wales bringing wastes into England/Wales for processing, so no hiding just north of the border and saying it doesn’t apply to us!

The law requires anyone dealing with waste to keep it safe, to make sure it’s dealt with responsibly and only given to businesses authorised to take it. Failure to comply with the duty of care is an offence subject to an unlimited fine on conviction. The Code is admissible as evidence in legal proceedings and its rules must be taken into account where relevant to questions raised in the case.

The Code looks at what it applies to and provides definitions of “Recovery”, “Preparing for re-use”, “Recycling” and “Disposal”. It also sets out what DoC does not apply to and exactly who needs to takes note of it, including householders, as well as those working within the waste and resources industry. Just be careful of the shifting sands of the Environment Agency in what is likely to be a predictably “flexible” interpretation of what they actually mean and how they might choose to interpret their guidance.

See the Code here



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