Commercial recycling and waste

Harlow Council is committed to providing a Clean, Green, Healthy and Safe Environment. In line with this corporate priority Harlow Council will be working hard to prevent fly-tipping and to ensure that business waste is disposed of lawfully.

Your responsibility as a business under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 34)

The law says that you have a ‘duty of care’ as a business to ensure all waste you produce on your premises and as part of your business is stored safely and disposed of lawfully. You cannot be offered a free waste collection service by the Council and can therefore not place your rubbish on the street expecting the Council to collect it, without having to pay for this service.

What is commercial waste?

Commercial waste is any waste produced from a school, hospital, residential or nursing home, factory or any other trade business such as an office or shop.

What are the steps your business must take to comply with the Duty of Care?

When you have waste, you must stop it escaping from your control. You must store it safely and securely. You must prevent it causing harm to the environment or harming anyone.

Step 1

Make it secure. Keep it in a suitable container. If you put loose waste in a skip or lorry, cover it.

Step 2

You must only pass your waste onto someone else if they have authority to take it. Most waste carriers have to be registered with the Environment Agency. To be sure that you are giving waste to a registered carrier, look at the carrier's certificate of registration or check with the Environment Agency.

You can take your business waste to certain local authority civic amenity sites which are authorised to receive such waste. However, there are no such sites in the Harlow district. If you take it to a site outside the Harlow district, you will be charged and a transfer note should be issued for you to keep.

Step 3

When waste is passed from one person to another, the person taking the waste must have a written description of it. A transfer note must also be filled in and signed by both persons involved in the transfer. You can write the description of the waste on the transfer note. Who provides the transfer note is not important as long as it contains the right information. The waste transfer note must include:

  • the type and quantity of waste, including the European Waste Catalogue Number, which can be found on the Environment Agency's website
  • what sort of container it is in
  • the date and time the waste is transferred
  • where the transfer took place
  • the names and addresses of both persons involved in the transfer
  • whether the person transferring the waste is the importer or the producer of the waste
  • details of which category of authorised person each one is. If the waste is passed to someone for authorised transport purposes, you must say which of those purposes applies
  • if either or both persons is a registered waste carrier, the certificate number and the name of the regional office of the Environment Agency which issued it
  • if either or both persons has a waste management licence, the licence number and the name of the regional office of the Environment Agency which issued it
  • the reasons for any exemption from the requirement to register or have a licence
  • where appropriate, the name and address of any broker involved in the transfer of waste
  • confirmation that the producer has discharged its duty with regards the waste hierarchy as per regulation 12 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

Repeated transfers of the same kind of waste between the same parties can sometimes be covered by one transfer note for up to a year. Waste transfer notes must be kept for 2 years and be made available for inspection upon request by Harlow Council or the Environment Agency.

Please ensure that your business is compliant with these requirements, both to ensure that Harlow is safe from inappropriate disposal of waste and to protect your business from being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.