Duty of Care applies to any establishment or business that produces, transports, treats or disposes of waste as a result of its activities.

In practice this means every establishment or business, from the very large to the very small in the UK.

This has been the case since the Environment Protection Act became law in 1990 [1], which requires establishments or businesses to take responsibility for ensuring that their waste is properly disposed of. So you have a Duty of Care for your waste that can be legally enforced!

Avoiding the issue will be illegal and could be expensive, as failure to comply with the law could result in fines. [2] 

On a more positive note those who do comply will find they are more efficient and successful, as a result of thinking about the waste they produce in a more organised way (see case studies).

Your Duty of Care starts from the moment you produce the waste and may also continue beyond the appropriately authorised waste contractor you engage to deal with it. You need to satisfy yourself that not only have you managed the waste you produce correctly on your site, but also that the person that it is given to next is permitted to deal with it and that it will be handled correctly.

Watch our videos to find out more:


The Duty of Care Code of Practice is available here.  But there's an even quicker way to make sure you know how to comply!  Download and keep our Simple Guide, which provides a step by step list of things to consider. 


[1] In Northern Ireland: Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997
[2] Unlimited fines are available to English and Welsh Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts. In Scotland and Northern Ireland the statutory maximum fines in Magistrates Courts is £5,000.