Business waste responsibilities

Every organisation and business has a duty of care (a legal responsibility) for the waste that they create.

What is business and commercial waste?

Business waste is any waste that comes from a business or commercial activity. This could be a shop, office, holiday home or childcare service. If you use part of your home to run your business, then any waste from that part is business waste.

Who do business waste laws apply to?

Anyone that makes, stores, transports, processes, or disposes of waste has a duty of care. This applies to all businesses. It's the business owner’s duty to make sure that their waste is being managed responsibly. This applies even if you outsource your waste management. You should only ever use legitimate, reliable, and reputable waste management companies.

Where do I store my business waste?

You're responsible for safely and securely storing your business's waste. It should be kept in a safe place, in clearly labelled, suitable, covered containers. Store different wastes separately so that they don’t contaminate each other. They can then be reused or recycled more easily. If your business produces hazardous waste, there are extra responsibilities for the storage of this.

Waste transfer notes

Every time waste is removed from your business a waste transfer note must be filled out or you should be issued with a document that contains the same details. An example of this could be an invoice. If you have an ongoing waste collection contract where the details remain the same, this may be issued annually.

Waste transfer notes must be kept for two years for most waste, and three years for hazardous waste. The waste transfer note shows the certain details. This includes description of the waste, how it's contained, how much there is, your details, the collector’s details and the location of the collection.

Waste carriers licence

If you want to dispose of your own waste regularly you must register as a waste carrier. You should also check whether any company you use to transport or dispose of your waste is a registered waste carrier. You can check this by visiting the Environment Agency register. You can ask to see, and keep proof of, a waste carrier registration certificate. You can also ask for a receipt, ask where your waste is being taken and take note of the name and vehicle registration of the collection.

Why can’t I put it in my household bins and why should I pay for it?

Household bins are for household waste only. This doesn't include any waste generated as part of a business. Business waste can't be disposed of through household waste or recycling bins. It also can't be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

All businesses that produce waste must have a commercial waste agreement and be able to produce this on request. Your business rates don't include waste disposal. Any waste or recycling from your business should be collected and disposed of by a licensed waste carrier. This still applies if it's run from your home. It can also be taken to a site licensed to handle business waste and disposal charges paid.

Do I have to recycle?

UK waste regulations require businesses to follow the waste hierarchy. This includes separating recyclable materials from general waste. Items you should consider separating for recycling are:

  • paper
  • cardboard
  • glass bottles and jars,
  • tins and can
  • plastic bottles
  • pots
  • tubs and trays
  • food waste
  • printer cartridges
  • batteries and electrical equipment

For more details about what items can be recycled visit our a-z of waste.

Some of these items such as printer cartridges and electricals may be taken back by your supplier. Always ask when purchasing new equipment.

How can we help?

We offer a full waste and recycling collection for any size of business. We can offer recycling collections of paper and cardboard and glass bottles and jar, tins, cans and foil trays and plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays. We also offer collections of general waste. We can take the hassle out of setting up collections as we'll work with you to provide you with the right number and size of bins. We'll take care of all of the paperwork including waste transfer notes at competitive rates and with fixed-price contracts.

If you want to speak to a member of our business waste team to see how we can help you or set up collections, please contact us on You can also find out more on our business waste webpage.

Working with partners

We’re working with District enforcement to make sure that businesses are disposing of their waste correctly. District enforcement will be offering information, advice, and guidance to those who need it. This work helps us to stop fly-tipping, the illegal transfer of waste, and the overall environmental impact of business waste. For more details email