Your waste and the law - duty of care

General Duty of Care

Anyone who produces, imports, keeps, stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste has a legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure waste is managed in accordance with the law. This duty of care imposed under section 34 Environmental Protection Act 1990, requires waste holders and anyone who may act as a dealer or broker in waste to comply with the legal obligations imposed on them. 

It is an offence not to comply with this duty of care and could result in a fixed penalty, or prosecution and an unlimited fine.

Household Duty of Care

Householders must ensure that they take reasonable measures when discarding waste produced on their property. Waste can only be transferred to an authorised person (registered waste carrier) or to a person for authorised transport purposes. 

It is an offence not to comply with this duty of care and could result in a fixed penalty, or prosecution and an unlimited fine.

Find of more about waste carriers here

Steps to consider when disposing your waste-

  • ensure the person who takes control of your waste is an authorised person and they are licensed with the Environment Agency
  • if your waste includes scrap metal, ensure the person who takes control of your waste is registered with us as a scrap metal collector or dealer
  • take steps to prevent your waste from escaping from your control
  • always store your waste safely and securely within the boundary of your property to prevent persons, or animals, interfering or scavenging
  • prevent your waste from polluting the environment, causing a nuisance or harming health
  • describe the waste you transfer in writing (document known as a controlled waste transfer note), how they are contained, where they have been produced, to whom they are being transferred and where they are being transported for recovery or disposal 


If you are a householder and you have waste which you wish to be disposed or recycled (including scrap metal and bulky householder items), you are required by law to take reasonable steps to ensure the person removing your waste is authorised. This will help to ensure your waste is managed responsibly.

How can I prevent my waste from being disposed of illegally or collected by someone who is not an authorised person

What to consider when arranging for anyone other than us to collect your household or business waste-

  • who you intend to remove your waste – don’t simply choose the cheapest option, call around for quotes
  • contact the Environment Agency on 03706 506 506 and ask for an Instant Waste Carrier Validation Check alternatively you can do this online here
  • don’t be afraid to ask questions – legally you must take reasonable steps to prevent someone else fly tipping your waste. Always ask what will happen to your waste and ask for evidence it is going to be disposed of lawfully
  • always ask to see an original waste carrier’s certificate - if you are using an authorised person they should be able to provide this to you, so you can check them out with the Environment Agency 
  • record details of the person who you paid to take your waste – this should include details and description of the person/business you paid to take your waste away, contact numbers, social media conversations and a picture of the waste they have been paid to remove
  • record the vehicle registration that removes your waste
  • always ask for an invoice and get a receipt (if you are a business legally you must obtain a controlled waste transfer note for any transfers that take place) 
  • always pay by cheque, not cash
  • keep a description (ideally take pictures) of the rubbish being removed

The more information the better - if illegally dumped waste is traced back to you we will have a better chance of finding the culprits and tackling those responsible.

Enforcement action will be taken if your waste is found fly tipped. You will be contacted and if it is discovered you have failed to comply with your duty of care, this may result in a fixed penalty or prosecution.

What to avoid when making arrangements to dispose of my waste-

  • anyone who cold calls at your property
  • persons who advertise on social media, local newsagents and newspaper classifieds, unless you have checked them out with the Environment Agency and you know they are an authorised person
  • don’t use anyone whose price is too good to be true, it could end up costing you more in court fines and costs. Always get more than one quote and expect to pay a reasonable fee - the fees that legitimate waste carriers have to pay to dispose of waste are not cheap. An unusually low quote, or an offer to take rubbish away for free in order to profit from any scrap metal that may be among it, should be treated with suspicion

Why should I have an obligation to ensure that a waste carrier disposes of my waste

The legal obligations imposed on waste holders under duty of care, is an important weapon against waste crime. Illegal waste carriers are more likely to cut corners, offer lower prices and unfairly undercut legitimate businesses who take their environmental responsibilities seriously.

Illegal waste carriers will dispose of your waste illegally in order to avoid the charges for proper disposal. Not only does this have the obvious consequences of pollution and environmental damage, but the Council Tax payer has to fund the clear-up costs of any waste fly tipped on public land, and landowners have to bear this cost themselves if waste is fly-tipped on private land.

If someone else fly tips my waste it's not my fault

If waste originating from your business or household has been found fly-tipped in Hull and you are contacted by us, you should cooperate and provide information to help enforcement action be taken against the person responsible. 

If  you fail to provide information to confirm who you transferred your waste to, enforcement action will be taken. 

If you suspect a waste carrier is acting unlawfully, don’t give them your waste and report them using the link below.

Report an illegal waste carrier

Visit the Environment Agency website to check registered waste carriers