Since the removal of the
Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations, the concept of Duty of
Care, although embedded in a vast amount of waste legislation since, has become
vague, misunderstood and potentially even forgotten – particularly within SME companies.
What are your duties as a waste producer?
In simple terms, Duty of Care for waste producing businesses comes down to the
ability to answer with confidence, and demonstrate your means of meeting, the following
three core questions:
- Do you have traceability for how and where your waste is being treated
and recovered, or disposed?
- Is your waste paperwork
up-to-date, and fully auditable?
- How do you ensure that
you stay up-to-date with changing waste legislation?
As a producer, your compliance obligations don’t end with supplying data for
what you have placed on the market, or contracting with a reliable waste service
provider to take your waste away. The concept of ‘Duty of Care’ is a producer responsibility,
enforceable by law. Fines levied by enforcement bodies for waste crimes in 2015
totalled in excess of £450,000 and additional powers and budgets are expected to
assist in catching more perpetrators in 2016. Already this year,
a firm was prosecuted £33,000 for exceeding the limits of their environmental
permit and failing to meet their Duty of Care.
Anti-waste crime campaigns have a number of high profile backers this year, including
‘Right Waste Right Place' campaign which will launch next month, and has the
support of both CIWM and The ESA. We can expect a renewed focus on Duty of Care
responsibilities and a greater media focus on offenders in 2016.
At Valpak, we understand that managing risk is paramount to the protection of
your brand reputation. With a changing legislative environment and escalating waste
costs, having sufficient processes for tracking, filing and staying ahead are paramount.
Ignorance isn’t an excuse, but ‘due diligence’ is a permissible defence
Demonstrating ‘due diligence’ requires an auditable document control procedure
and a robust management process. Gaining ISO14001 certification is one way of working
towards this, but you must ensure you have an internal process of systematic checks.
The process that you employ doesn’t need to be complicated, just fit-for-purpose.
Put simply, due diligence for your waste is:
- Knowing what environmental
legislation affects your business. Have a process for staying up-to-date, responding
to legislative changes promptly, and build a legal register specifically for
your business. If you dismiss a regulation as not applying to your business,
keep a record of your justification
- Keeping organised and auditable
files of third party licences and permits such as: waste transfer notes, consignment
notes, waste carrier licences and facility permits for all third party contractors.
are up-to-date and easily accessible – for example store the files by date,
site arising, and waste material so they can located quickly and easily on request
- Maintaining up-to-date records
of your own permits, licences and auditing activities, for example in relation
to environmental permits, hazardous waste premises registration (up until April
2016), or any waste storage exemptions, and keeping track of the permissible
limits for these. Undertake regular audits of your own site and third party
provider sites, keeping records of your observations.
Still sound complicated?
Valpak are running a number of free workshops – find your nearest
Would you prefer to follow an established management process which guides you
step by step through your waste compliance requirements so you can easily identify
and correct any gaps? Take a look at Valpak’s newest service which combines compliance
assistance and waste management support in one, easy to follow, software package
that puts you back in the driving seat. See our interactive online demonstration for more information.