Duty of care

Section 34 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a 'duty of care' upon persons who handle controlled waste. The Duty of Care is a code of practice for dealing with 'controlled waste'.  The following sections cover the key requirements of the “Duty” and set out how most waste producers can ensure that they comply.

What is waste?

Waste is any substance or object which the producer or person in possession of it discards, intends to discard or treats as waste.

Controlled waste is Household, Industrial or Commercial waste.  Controlled waste is not naturally occurring agricultural wastes, mines and quarries waste, explosives and most radioactive waste. These are subject to their own controls.

Who is subject to the duty of care?

Any person who imports, produces, carries, keeps treats or disposes of controlled waste or, as a broker, has control of such waste is subject to the Duty of Care with respect to such wastes.

What is that duty?

All persons subject to the Duty must take steps:

  • to prevent any contravention by any other person of section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • to prevent the escape of waste from his control or that of any other person; and on the transfer of waste secure -
    • that the transfer is only to an authorised person or to a person for authorised transport purposes; and
    • that there is transferred such a written description of the waste as will enable other persons to avoid a contravention of that section and comply with the duty under this subsection as respects the escape of waste.

What does it mean in practice?

The Duty of Care sets out a chain of responsibilities from the person producing waste to the final disposal of waste and these responsibilities include: