11 Jun, 2024
Written By: Josh Morris
A hand carefully holding a black garbage bag above a field of flowers with trees in the background, accompanied by the text

All businesses and households across the UK have a duty of care to manage waste safely and without harming the environment. 

The waste duty of care basically ensures that everyone involved in the waste management chain, which includes homeowners, business owners & waste companies, take safe and appropriate measures to prevent environmental harm and effectively handle all waste produced. 

At the heart of the duty of care lies the waste transfer note—a document that serves as a vital record of waste transactions, detailing what waste is being transferred, by who, and to where. It gives details on the journey of disposal from pick up all the way to it's final resting place.

But, why are these notes so crucial, and how do they ensure compliance with waste regulations? Can't anyone just make their own waste transfer note? Does anyone really ask for this? 

In this blog, we will be uncovering the ins and outs of waste Duty of Care & Waste Transfer Notes. Why you need them, how you get them, and why your business should keep hold of them...let's dive in. 

What is Waste Duty of Care?

The Waste Duty of Care is a legal requirement for all individuals and businesses to ensure that they manage waste responsibly. 

To put it in simple terms...whether you're a homeowner disposing of household waste, a small business generating commercial waste, or a large corporation involved in industrial activities, you have a duty of care to handle waste responsibly and comply with waste management regulations in the UK.

This legal requirement is fully backed by all government bodies and also the environment agency. It was first introduced when the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was brought in. 

The Waste Duty of Care applies to a wide range of individuals and companies, including:

  1. Businesses of all sizes, across various industries and sectors. All businesses create waste. 
  2. Local authorities and government agencies responsible for waste management and environmental protection.
  3. Waste carriers, brokers, and dealers involved in the transportation and transfer of waste.
  4. Individuals or households producing and disposing of waste.

What are Waste Transfer Notes?

If the Duty of Care is the code of practice & legal requirement for all businesses and individuals to manage waste legally, the Waste Transfer Note is the proof of this.

Think of the Duty of Care as the Queen Bee and the Waste Transfer Note as the Worker Bee. The Duty of Care is the boss, but it is the waste transfer note that proves and ensures that you are carrying out your Duty of Care properly. 

Here is why you should always obtain a Waste Transfer Note: 

  • Legal Requirement: It is a legal requirement for all waste producers, carriers, and receivers to complete and retain Waste Transfer Notes. This requirement helps ensure that waste is managed and disposed of properly in accordance with waste regulations.
  • Documentation: Waste Transfer Notes provide a record of waste transactions, documenting the movement of waste from its point of origin to its final destination. This documentation is essential for tracking the flow of waste and verifying its proper handling and disposal. Always keep copies. 
  • Accountability: By signing a Waste Transfer Note, all parties involved in the transfer of waste accept responsibility for its proper management and disposal. This helps deter illegal fly tipping. 
  • Traceability: Waste Transfer Notes enable authorities to trace the movement of waste and verify that it has been handled and disposed of legally and responsibly. This traceability helps ensure that waste is not unlawfully disposed of or mismanaged.

It should go without saying that if it is your local council doing the rounds and collecting your 4 weekly bins as standard, then they are obviously a registered waste carrier.

If you are ever using a private company for any collections, always make sure to get the Waste Carriers Licence Number. 

Legal Requirements and Compliance

The Waste Duty of Care is a legal requirement for anyone involved in the production, transportation, handling, or disposal of waste to take all reasonable measures to ensure that waste is managed properly. This includes:

  1. Preventing waste from causing pollution or harm to human health.
  2. Keeping waste to a minimum by following the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  3. Ensuring that waste is transferred only to authorised individuals or facilities, such as licensed waste carriers or disposal sites.
  4. Providing accurate information about the waste being transferred, including its contents, quantity, and destination.
  5. Keeping records of waste transactions, including waste transfer notes, for a specified period.

Penalties for non-compliance

Fines - Businesses or Individuals who are found to have breached their duty of care could face hefty fines. The amount that they could be fined all depends on the amount and what type of waste has not been disposed of correctly. For instance, Hazardous waste will face the highest punishment compared to non-hazardous waste due to the damage that it can cause to the environment. 

Legal Action - Prison time may sound extreme, but businesses who have seriously breached the rules could be dragged in front of the courts, and community service, fines or worse, prison time may be handed down. 

Reputation Damage - Fly-tipping is hot news, so you can guarantee that the local papers and media will pick up on it. This could affect a businesses credibility and standing in the community, as nobody wants to use a waste company or business that doesn't responsibly deal with their waste. 

How to Properly Complete a Waste Transfer Note

You may be thinking, 'that is all well and good...but...how do you actually complete a waste transfer note'? 

Don't you worry, here are some steps on how to fill out a waste transfer note: 

  1. Date of Transfer: Start by filling in the date when the waste transfer occurred. This ensures that the document accurately reflects the timing of the waste transaction.
  2. Details of the Waste Producer: Include the name and address of the individual or business that produced the waste. 
  3. Details of the Waste Carrier: Provide the name and address of the individual or business responsible for transporting the waste. Verify that the waste carrier is licensed and authorised to handle the type of waste being transferred.
  4. Description of the Waste: Clearly describe the type, quantity, and nature of the waste being transferred. Use specific terms and, if applicable, include any relevant waste codes or descriptions.
  5. Transfer Location: Specify the location where the waste is being transferred from and the destination where it will be taken. This helps track the movement of waste.
  6. Signatures: Both the waste producer and the waste carrier must sign and date the Waste Transfer Note to acknowledge the transfer of waste and accept responsibility for its proper management and disposal. Make sure that signatures are legit and that the document is dated accurately.
  7. Retain a Copy: Keep a copy of the completed Waste Transfer Note for your records. Retaining documentation of waste transactions is important for compliance purposes and may be required for auditing or regulatory purposes.

The completed waste transfer note, should look a little something like this: 

Example of a Waste Transfer Note 

Date of Transfer: 18/03/2024

Details of Waste Producer: Name: ABCD Construction Address: 123 Main Street, Manchester, UK

Details of Waste Carrier: Name: Busy Bins Address: Unit 4 Cowburn Street, Heywood, UK

Description of Waste: Type: Construction rubble Quantity: 2 tonnes.

Items: Mixed rubble: Concrete, Bricks, and Timber.

Transfer Location: From: ABCD Construction, 123 Main Street, Manchester, UK

To: Busy Bins - Unit 4 Cowburn Street, Heywood, UK

Signature: Waste Producer (ABCD Construction): (Signature) Date: 18/03/2024

Signature: Waste Carrier: (Busy Bins): [Signature] Date: 18/03/2024

Best Practices for Waste Management

Tips for reducing waste


  1. Conduct a waste audit to identify areas of waste generation. You can 
  2. Implement waste reduction strategies like purchasing in bulk and reducing packaging.
  3. Digitise documents and communications to minimise paper waste.
  4. Offer recycling and composting facilities in the workplace.
  5. Minimise single-use items by providing reusable alternatives.


  1. Practice smart shopping by planning meals and buying only what you need.
  2. Reuse and repurpose items instead of discarding them.
  3. Compost organic waste to reduce landfill waste.
  4. Conserve energy by turning off lights and using energy-efficient appliances.
  5. Donate or sell unwanted items instead of throwing them away.

How to choose a waste management company

  1. Google - We have said it before and will say it again. Google is your friend. Search on Google for local collection services. Remember, to not always choose the first name as there may be some companies at the top who have paid to get there.
  2. Choose registered waste carriers - Registered waste carriers should always be used for any one off waste collection. This not only ensures safe and proper waste disposal but covers you from potential fly-tippers who will dump your rubbish on any old side road!
  3. Reviews - You can never be led astray with reputable reviews. Always make sure to check reviews of the potential company that you are going to be using. Look for reviews from verified customers on websites such as Reviews.io or Trustpilot.
  4. Friends or Business Associates - Ask around to see if there are any recommendations from people you trust. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Who needs to complete a waste transfer note? A waste transfer note need to be completed by any business or individual who disposes of waste or is involved into the transfer of waste from one place to another. So this means: Brokers, Waste Carriers, Man & Van, Junk Removals etc. Anyone who deals with waste at any stage of its journey has a responsibility to complete a waste transfer note. This is so that the origins of where the waste has been and is going too is well documented. 
  • How long should I keep waste transfer notes? You must keep a waste transfer note for at least two years after the transfer of waste occurs. However, it is up to you if you wanted to keep them for longer just in case. 
  • Can digital waste transfer notes be used? Yes, digital waste transfer notes can be used as long as they are easily accessible if they are ever needed to be inspected. 
  • What happens if I don't comply with the waste duty of care? Slap your wrist for me and that is the least of your worries. Not complying with the waste duty of care can result in penalties, fines, or legal action for your company. Also, if you don't use a reputable waste company or don't comply with the duty of care you can actually harm the environment and your reputation could be placed in jeopardy. 
  • How can I ensure my waste is disposed of responsibly? This is easy. Make sure to use a reputable, fully licensed waste company. Also ensure that within your business you maintain accurate waste transfer documentation.
  • Are there any exemptions to the waste duty of care? Certain exemptions to the waste duty of care exist for specific types of waste or activities, such as household waste, however, all businesses have a duty of care towards their waste.   
  • How do I fill out a waste transfer note correctly? To fill out a waste transfer note correctly, include details such as the type and quantity of waste, the location of the transfer, the names and addresses of both the waste producer and carrier, and any relevant waste codes or descriptions. Make sure that you get the noted signed and dated by both parties involved in the transfer. 
  • What should I do if my waste carrier is not registered? If your waste carrier is not fully licensed and registered, then keep hold of your waste and use someone else! In no circumstances should you transfer your waste over to a waste carrier that is not a registered waste carrier and has a licence to remove and partake in waste disposal safely. 
  • How can waste transfer notes help in waste management planning? These little documents not only cover you in case of fly-tipping or audits. The data on the waste transfer notes can also inform you of opportunities for waste reduction and recycling, as you can analyse what types of waste you are getting rid of, the amount and frequency. All this info together can you give a bigger picture of where your waste is at. 


If you are ever dealing with waste, be this domestic waste or business waste, you always have a duty of care to make sure that you store waste correctly and that when someone comes to remove waste they do so safely. 

  • Always obtain a waste transfer note.
  • Confirm that whoever is taking your waste is a registered waste carrier.
  • Ask for Waste Carrier Licence Number. 

By doing this, you can carry out your legal responsibility to ensure that you dispose waste safely and you will always be able to protect yourself from fly-tippers. 

It should go without saying that if it is your local council doing the rounds and collecting your 4 weekly bins, then they are obviously a registered waste carrier. However, if you are ever using a private company, make sure to get the Waste Carriers Licence Number. 

Remember, if you ever need help with ensuring you are legally disposing of your waste, Busy Bins are here to help. 

We offer a range of services and expertise when it comes to dealing with your rubbish safely.

Here are a few reasons why you should use us for your recycling and waste management:

  • Fully Accredited & Licensed
  • 12 months contracts / No Auto-Renewal
  • Waste Transfer Note provided if needed. 
  • Dispose of waste correctly! No Landfill! All your rubbish is sent to an Waste to Energy facility to ensure you are as environmentally friendly as ever.
  • Clear waste disposal costs. No Hidden Fees!
  • Junk Removal & Skip Hire Service - Ideal for clearing out any old medical equipment, or if you having a refurb for your new residents!
  • If you wish to see any of our legal documentation then please email binfo@busybins.co.uk and we will be happy to provide copies of this. Our waste carriers licence number is CB/DU222271 for any online checks you wish to carry out.

Don't just take our word for it though, throughout our 7 years of being in business, we have received over 1000 verified customers reviews who have rated us 4.9 out of 5 on our service & we have never been put on report!

To have a peek out our reviews, click here: https://busybins.co.uk/reviews

So come and take part in the service with a smile.

Ready for some eco-friendly waste management? Contact us today at: www.busybins.co.uk

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