Littering from businesses

Litter makes an area look uncared for. It reduces pride of the residents, visitors and businesses who live and work there.

If litter is disposed of irresponsibly, it can affect wellbeing and health of those within the local community. It can also contribute to perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods.

The responsibility of businesses

It is the responsibility of all businesses to make sure wastes are managed at all times. They need to be securely stored until they are safely disposed.

Anyone who -

  • produces
  • imports
  • keeps
  • stores
  • transports
  • treats
  • disposes of waste

has a legal obligation to take all reasonable steps, to ensure wastes are managed under the law. This duty of care imposed under section 34 Environmental Protection Act 1990. It requires waste holders, and anyone who may act as a dealer or broker in waste, to follow the legal obligations imposed on them.

The following legal requirements are placed on businesses who are waste holders. They are to -

  • prevent the escape of your waste between collections. For example, provide waste bins to securely contain all wastes. Store bins on private land, and present bins only on collection days
  • take steps to prevent other persons from disposing of your waste illegally
  • only transfer wastes to authorised persons. Keep documents, also known as controlled waste transfer notes, from the past 2 years. These documents must be produced to the council or Environment Agency, on request. Failure to do so may be an offence and result in a fixed penalty or prosecution

Business Rates do not include charges for the collection and disposal of wastes from any business.

Advice to businesses

Businesses are encouraged to provide clear anti-littering information to customers. This is to get them to responsibly dispose of litter.

Employees of businesses should be provided with similar information. There should be clear instructions about the management of wastes. Maintaining the cleanliness of the business premises should also be included. Examples of problems that businesses can cause include -

  • causing an obstruction by placing bins or bags on a highway this includes -
    • the pavement
    • grass verges
    • parking bays
  • escapes of litter and wastes due to a failure to secure wastes responsibly
  • not clearing cigarette butts, food and drink packaging relating to the operational business
  • disposing of wastes within residential recycling and refuse schemes, or household communal bins

Examples of measures that could tackle these problems may include -

  • responsible management of waste
  • provision of clear instructions to staff for the management of waste
  • removal of litter and waste from affected land. This includes any highway, grass verges and public land next to any business
  • emptying of litter bins
  • checking bins are removed from highway and locked. Problems need to be reported to the owner or manager
  • provide anti-littering information in visible locations
  • provide litter bins for customers on business premises
  • where possible avoid unnecessary packaging and encourage customers to use reusable bags