Survey finds that businesses do not know their waste ‘Duty of Care’

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Small and medium-sized businesses are unintentionally breaching waste disposal laws

The ‘Right Waste, Right Place’ information campaign has conducted a survey amongst small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to find out how clued up firms really are when it comes to their waste ‘Duty of Care’.

The campaign found that almost half of the businesses which took part in the survey were unwittingly breaching waste disposal regulations, despite 97 per cent claiming to follow the laws down to a T.

According to ‘Right Waste, Right Place’, up to 48 per cent of the SMEs surveyed are risking fines, prosecution or even the closure of their business because they do not know where their waste goes to once it is collected and transferred from the site.

Additionally, more than a third of those asked could not definitely say they completed a waste transfer note each time they transferred their commercial rubbish over to a waste carrier.

The Environment Agency and local authorities can request a business to provide evidence of waste transfer notes for up to two years following the transfer of waste.

Over 25 per cent of the construction firms surveyed were also unsure regarding the classification of different waste materials and therefore did not separate their waste according to the ‘Duty of Care’ regulations.

Only four per cent of those surveyed were aware of the legal consequences of not following the laws.

Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the ESA, said: “Dealing with the results is costing taxpayers millions of pounds each year and waste criminals can harm the environment and put local communities in danger. By not complying, local businesses could well be helping facilitate such crime by not ensuring waste is disposed of safely.”

However, the positive news from the survey is that SMEs are committed to improving their waste practices, with the majority saying that environmental and health considerations are a crucial consideration when dealing with the waste they produce.

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