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5 things businesses MUST do to comply with strict environmental laws

10th December 2018

Let’s be honest, waste management is very rarely put at the top of the priority list when the agenda is being prepared for a business meeting.

After all, it’s not something board members or company directors are too bothered about, is it? They usually prefer to focus on production and profit margins.

At Wastege, we have more than 30 years’ experience in the waste disposal industry and usually find it’s the companies which place little focus on waste management (and the processes involved) who end up on the wrong side of the law - because of rapidly-changing legislation and regulations.

If you’re involved in the production, handling or distribution of any hazardous waste - and you want to avoid a heavy fine for breaking the law, these are the 5 things you MUST do to ensure you’re 100% compliant…

1. Conduct a waste audit

It may sound odd, but many businesses, particularly those that have experienced a number of years of continued growth, may not have a clear idea of all the kinds of wastes they produce on a daily or weekly basis.

That means they don’t have a sufficient procedure for how they should be stored, collected and disposed of. When a company realises they are at risk, our teams at Wastege are often called to check unidentified waste for classification and disposal.

Many businesses also fail to adapt their waste removal agreements to reflect their changing needs. This means they could be missing an opportunity to save money with a new agreement, either over storage or collection. An efficient audit will make full use of waste that can be recycled or reused on site, identify any wastes which need segregating - and may prevent you being fined for sending recyclable waste to landfill.

2. Correctly identify and label all hazardous waste

It is a legal requirement that businesses must describe any waste they produce before sending it for recycling and disposal - and there are many additional requirements for companies producing hazardous waste.

Information should include:

  • Whether the waste is hazardous
  • The name of the substance or substances
  • The process which produced the waste
  • A chemical and physical analysis of the waste
  • Any special problems, requirements or knowledge related to the waste

At Wastege, we are highly-experienced in conducting hazardous waste assessments and can provide advice on the legal requirements of companies for all waste types – giving you peace of mind that all waste will be handled and disposed of in complete compliance with the law.

3. Keep detailed records of all hazardous waste

Whether you receive, produce or transport hazardous waste; you must be to trace and account for it to be 100% compliant.

If you can’t do this, your business could be accused of disposing of materials unsafely and illegally. If you dispose of waste properly and are wrong accused, you’ll need documents and records to prove your innocence.

Firms can face huge fines for disposing of hazardous waste incorrectly - even items like empty paint tins or sealant tubes.

If your company has any contact with hazardous waste, you have a ‘duty of care’ to document its disposal at every stage – production, transportation and disposal.

At Wastege, we can help firms register as being a hazardous waste producer with the Environment Agency – ensuring they’re fully compliant with the Hazardous Waste Disposal Regulations. Every waste load or stream we remove or manage also has all the necessary environmental documentation so you’re 100% compliant.

4. Train staff to handle waste properly

At any large business many people will at some point be involved with waste, from those involved in production processes to those responsible for its disposal. However, we’ve come across many companies where the people given responsibility over waste management have little knowledge of the huge responsibility on their shoulders.

To help, we offer training which outlines what responsibilities people should be aware of (at all levels), encouraging employees to think about waste and how it’s managed.

Training is particularly important for any employee involved in the packing, loading, carrying, filling or unloading of dangerous goods by road, including waste.
By law, they are required to undergo training in the transport of dangerous goods by road – and this must be refreshed every two years.

5. Use an Environment Agency-registered hazardous waste company

It can be difficult finding people with reliable skills in specialist areas like waste management, and there are some companies who do not dispose of hazardous waste in a safe and legal manner.

Be warned, their failure to follow the law will land you in hot water! You must carry out a background check before giving anyone access to your hazardous waste.

From April 2016, every approved waste carriers, dealers and brokers has to register with Environment Agency – and the Waste Carriers Register details exactly what they’re registered to do in terms of waste management. It also states when their licence expires. Details of companies registered to collect waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) can also be found.

Enlist our waste management help & expertise

For advice on any aspect of hazardous waste management or a full waste audit, get in touch or call 0800 756 3997 today.