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‘Scrap’ checklist for your waste

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Green View by Peter Gudde
Green View by Peter Gudde

A cautionary tale and hopefully some useful advice. Back in this column 2013, I highlighted waste laws which affected householders when the employ traders to do work for them.

The basics are that householders have a duty of care to dispose of their rubbish to someone who is legally registered to carry it and they in turn must dispose of it to a licensed waste facility to comply with the law.

Earlier this month, a Suffolk resident pleaded guilty at Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court for failing to meet Duty of Care rules.

This was the result of fly-tipped waste originating from their home being found in Dunwich Forest to the east of the county.

The resident had allowed someone else take waste, including domestic waste, from their home leading it to end up in a builder’s rubbish bag containing both domestic and commercial waste.

The person taking it away was not registered to carry the waste and dumped it illegally.

We can all be at risk from rogue traders but as householder you have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that any household waste produced on your property is only transferred to an authorised person.

A useful acronym to prevent yourself falling foul of the law is SCRAP:

Suspect. Beware of rogue waste carriers who dump waste illegally. If in any doubt as to whether someone is a legitimate waste carrier, do not allow them to take your waste.

Check. Ask for their waste carrier’s registration details, and verify them by searching the Environment Agency public register (https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/index) or by calling 03708 506 506. Note down the registration number of the vehicle used to take your waste away.

Refuse unsolicited offers to have any rubbish taken away. Always carry out your own research and choose who you wish to approach.

Ask questions. Always ask what exactly is going to happen to your rubbish and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of appropriately. A legitimate, professional waste carrier who wants your business should not object to being asked reasonable questions.

Paperwork. Make sure you get a proper invoice and receipt for your waste.

If the person who takes the waste from you is not authorised to do so, or your waste is illegally disposed of (e.g. fly-tipped), you could be prosecuted and fined if you have not taken all reasonable measures to meet your duty of care obligations.

For more information please visit www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/fly-tipping/

-- Peter Gudde is environment manager for St Edmundsbury and Forest heath councils