Identifying the waste you handle

In order to correctly handle, store or dispose of waste you first need to know what waste types you produce. There are two main types and the regulations are slightly different for each.

Non-hazardous waste

Much of the waste produced in an office will be non-hazardous, but it is your duty to check. For instance, fluorescent tubes and some toner cartridges are hazardous. In addition, some wastes need to be disposed of separately even if they are not classed as hazardous wastes – an example is batteries. For non-hazardous wastes, you must ensure that a waste transfer note is completed for each collection (or group of collections if using a ‘season ticket’ – an annual waste transfer note covering 12 months of collections of the same type of waste from the same site).

Since January 2014, waste transfer notes (or WTNs) do not have to be actual pieces of paper, although many still are. Whether using the electronic eDoc system, or the paper-based system, all WTNs must have at least the following information on them:

  • A description of the physical waste(s);
  • The correct List of Wastes code(s) for each waste type in the consignment;
  • A description of how the waste is contained;
  • the SIC 2007 for the business activity that produced the waste;
  • A statement confirming that the waste hierarchy has been considered before collection takes place;
  • Confirmation that pre-treatment has been done;
  • The amount of waste to be collected – sometimes by weight, sometimes by container or other measure;
  • Information that identifies the producer and a contact at the producer site;
  • Information that identifies the collection, with the collector’s waste carrier registration details. Note that it is illegal to pass waste to an unregistered carrier.
  • The address, date and time where the collection is made;
  • The signature of the person consigning the waste and the person collecting the waste.

Waste transfer notes must be kept for two years and provided, on request, to the authorities if necessary.

Hazardous waste

Hazardous wastes take many forms and, in addition to having special storage and handling requirements, have a different type of transfer documentation known as the Hazardous Waste Consignment note.

In addition to the information needed for a waste transfer note (see left), consignment notes have:

  • A unique code that identifies the site and the collection;
  • A section signed by the person accepting the waste at it’s destination – whether this is for final disposal or for holding pending further transit;
  • A section where the person who could accept the waste rejects it, including space for them to explain why.

As with non-hazardous waste, the producer can only consign the waste to a registered carrier and what happens to the waste remains the responsibility of the producer until the waste is accepted at the final destination for disposal.

Hazardous waste consignment notes must be kept for at least three years from the date of consignment. Additional records must be kept and provided if requested by the authorities, which can include fire authorities.

Storage requirements will depend on the particular hazards of the waste, but may include a need for bunding to prevent accidental spills, ventilation to prevent dangerous build up of gases or special security features to prevent unauthorised access. In addition, your staff may require special training in handling, storing and managing hazardous wastes.

You may also need special plans detailing what needs to be done in the event of an accident or emergency on your site that could affect the hazardous wastes you handle or store.

If you produce more than 500kgs on any one site in any 12 month period, you will need to register as a Hazardous Waste Producer and make returns to the authorities.

Remember that responsibility for correctly identifying waste rests with the producer, who is also responsible for making sure that the waste is correctly disposed of. You cannot delegate this responsibility to someone else, but we can help you to make sure that you know what you need to do and have procedures in place to make sure that it is done. Just call us to find out more – 01491 682850.