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Who’s handling your waste? – Don’t be shy, ask if they comply

Matt Luntley
Apr 27, 2017

The world of waste and waste management is complex and rich with its own terminologies and acronyms. Do you know your “WCL”s from your “AATF”s? How about your “OL” from your “T11”s?

It’s easy to get slightly overwhelmed especially when dealing with lots of different types of waste which require lots of companies to advise collect and treat the material.

Below are some very basic rules which should be helpful to people new to the industry and also those looking for a refresher. There is more extensive and detailed information on the .gov website for all of the below.

As detailed in the link below “The law requires anyone dealing with waste to keep it safe, make sure it’s dealt with responsibly and only given to businesses authorised to take it.”. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-duty-of-care-code-of-practice

Moving Waste

Anyone transporting waste should have a Waste Carrier License (WCL). This also applies to anyone who is arranging the movement of waste on your behalf such as a broker or a dealer. These accreditations last for a few years once granted and then go through a renewal process.

You can check if your Waste Carrier and Broker are registered by following this link:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers

Waste Electronics

Sites which receive and treat electronic waste need to have a specific type of license or permit. The most common for larger organisations is the Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF) License which are given out and regulated by the Environment Agency.

None Electrical Disposal sites

Every facility that receives waste should have either an Environmental Permit or exemption. There is a lot more guidance on this on the .gov website but needless to say if you aren’t sure ask for a copy from your contractor.

You can check what license your disposal facility have by following the below link:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-operations

Why it’s important

Waste crime is still a huge problem in the UK with people moving, storing and disposing of waste in an incorrect manner. A prudent and responsible waste producer should have full visibility on where their waste goes once it is collected and what happens to it.

If you have no idea what happens to your waste then ask the business you are sending it to or even better ask if you can visit to see the processes for yourself!

There are heavy penalties for producers if any material has been moved or treated illegally. It is the producer’s responsibility to make sure the people they are using to treat their waste are accredited and able to do so.

Best practice

I would recommend that if you do not currently then request copies of the licenses from your waste carriers and treatment facilities. Lots of companies store these on their website and whilst you can check the public registers online to see whether or not someone is accredited best practice would be to view the hard copies as they will contain more information.

Some licenses are annual whilst others run over several years so it is also worth building a formal process to maintain that these records are up to date. As just because someone has an accreditation one year doesn’t mean to say they will be granted one the next.

How Valpak can help

Valpak’s Waste Manager Portal allows you to manage your duty of care compliance in a simple and efficient way.

You can easily upload your waste data and documentation from your contractors. Alternatively, Valpak can co-ordinate the collection of data directly from your waste management companies. Expiry dates can be included when uploading waste permits, licences and exemptions giving you peace of mind you and your contractors are compliant with waste legislations.

You can analyse your business’s waste performance through our monitoring and reporting dashboard, which gives you visibility of key statistics and can be used to report your waste targets whether they are environmental or cost related.

The Portal also includes the use of a waste management eLearning platform that is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM).

Still confused about what your responsibilities, we have a Duty of Care Overview to get you started. Or join us for one of our seminars and webinars covering waste compliance and waste management running throughout the year.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.