Many small businesses, organisations and even charities are risking a steep fine for failing to register as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency.

Since 2014 all businesses in England and Wales, which regularly transport waste including their own, have been required to register as waste carriers. You must register if, as part of your business, you do any of these things:

  • transport waste – regardless of where it is taken
  • buy, sell or dispose of waste
  • act as a waste broker or dealer, arranging for someone else to buy, sell or dispose of waste

Similar rules apply to businesses, which transport waste in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In most cases, registration is free; for others the cost is £154. However, the penalty for failing to register is a waste fine of up to £5,000. Yet few companies are aware of the rules.

You might not think your business needs to register, but the rules apply to any organisation transporting waste. Examples include a firm of solicitors taking confidential papers to their head office for shredding or a charity, which recycles printer cartridges to raise funds. In addition, householders who pay someone to remove waste, allow a builder to do so or hire a skip, have a duty of care to check that the waste disposal company is registered.

You can check this on the Environment Agency’s public register, on its website. Fail to do so, and you could be held liable and face prosecution yourself.

The government introduced the requirement to register as a waste carrier in an effort to combat flytipping and other illegal waste management and disposal.

Dealing with the effects of flytipping is a serious business, which costs local councils more than £57 million a year. Registration is very easy, so if you find that a waste carrier is not registered, you should be very suspicious. It is likely that they are cowboy operators who will dispose of your waste unlawfully.

Which organisations must register as a waste carrier?

There are two types of waste carrier registration in force for lower and upper tier waste carriers. When you register, you’ll be told whether your registration is lower tier or upper tier, but as a guide:

1 Lower tier waste carriers

Lower tier waste carrier registrations are for organisations that only carry their own waste. They apply to organisations that carry low-risk material, including general waste and recycling. Charity or voluntary organisations and local authorities must also register as a lower tier carrier. Examples include:

  • businesses that collect confidential waste from their different locations to centralise at head office
  • businesses where maintenance teams carry waste items
  • healthcare organisations, where nurses travel with waste sharps in their car
  • carpet fitters who take away offcuts

2 Upper tier waste carriers

Organisations that transport, broker of deal in other people’s waste as part of their commercial activities, and businesses that carry their own construction or demolition waste must register as an upper tier waste carrier and will appear on the Environment Agency’s public register. Examples of upper tier registrations include:

  • waste management companies.
  • plumbers carrying waste pipework.
  • builders carrying rubble or wood offcuts

All organisations that regularly carry waste as part of their business must register as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency.  Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £5,000. However, householders moving their own waste or businesses moving waste within their own premises are not required to register as waste carriers. The good news is that there is no charge to register as a lower tier waste carrier.

The registration lasts indefinitely and renews automatically. For upper tier registration there is a charge of £154 per registration and a £40 fee for future updates to the details you provide.

You will need to renew your registration after three years at a cost of £105. To register or renew as a waste carrier, broker or dealer, click here.

If you’d like to save your business the hassle of applying for lower tier registration, or the cost of dealing with an upper tier waste licence, contact ProSkips to hire 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16-yard skips. ProSkips also provides a same-day service and a wait and load facility.

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