Q. We use computer and telecoms equipment. Are we a producer of hazardous waste?
A. On 15th July 2005 numerous items were classified by The Environment Agency as 'hazardous'. These include CRT monitors, lead acid batteries (used in UPS’) and fluorescent light tubes. Companies and organisations that use and subsequently dispose of such items are referred to as 'producers'.
Q. Do I need to register as a Hazardous Waste Producer?
A. With effect from May 2009, if you produce more than 500kgs of hazardous waste per year then you will need to notify your premises to the Environment Agency. This can be done very easily online by clicking here. There are some organisations that are exempt from registering, including schools and government departments. Exemption details can be found here.
Q. I am only a small business. Why can't I just take my WEEE to my Local Authority Household Waste Recycling Centre?
A. Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are provided for the disposal of household bulky items and recyclables. The sites play an important role in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill in the country through recycling and reusing as much of the UK’s unwanted household items and green waste as possible. Your WEEE is treated as trade waste and as such you may not dispose of it via an HWRC, nor may you place it in your trade waste bins.
Q. What is defined as trade waste?
A. Trade waste is defined as waste arising from any trade or business, industrial or commercial activities. Anyone who has received any payment for carrying waste or produces waste from their work cannot take this waste to an HWRC.
Q. What are my obligations as a business for the disposal of WEEE?
A. Businesses and commercial organisations are responsible for arranging proper disposal of their waste under The Environment Agency Duty of Care document. At present, the law states local authorities are not legally responsible for the collection and/or disposal of commercial waste.
Q. What is the "Duty of Care"?
A. The Duty of Care is set out in section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and associated regulations. It applies to anyone who is the holder of controlled waste. Persons concerned with controlled waste must ensure that the waste is managed properly, recovered or disposed of safely, does not cause harm to human health or pollution of the environment and is only transferred to someone who is authorised to receive it. The duty applies to any person who produces, imports, carries, keeps, treats or disposes of controlled waste or as a broker has control of such waste. Breach of the Duty of Care is an offence, with a penalty of up to £5,000 on summary conviction or an unlimited fine on conviction on indictment.
Q. What information do I need to keep when disposing of WEEE?
A. Under the Duty of Care Regulations 1991 (the 1991 Regulations), parties transferring waste are required to complete and retain a 'transfer note', containing a written description of that waste. This document will need to be kept for 2 years from the date it was issued. In some cases a hazardous waste consignment note will also need to be produced. This must be kept for three years.