Dealing with your business waste

Your duty of care

Your duty of care for waste means that you have a legal responsibility to make sure that your businesses waste is stored, transported and recycled or disposed of in a way that does not harm the environment.

Duty of care does not stop when your waste is taken away, you must ensure it is managed properly. Illegal activity should be reported to SEPA's 24 hour hotline 0800 80 70 60. 

You must

  • You must have an appropriate business waste collection/disposal arrangement in place, with a licenced waste contractor, to manage your waste. Business waste should never be put in public or domestic bins, and collection services are not covered by business rates.
  • Store your waste securely so it does not cause litter or attract vermin. Label your bins clearly so waste goes in the right place.
  • Segregate key recyclables for separate collection from your other waste. These are paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic. Ask your waste contractor for help.
  • Food businesses must segregate food waste for separate collection, unless you are in a rural area or you produce less than 5kg of food waste per week.
  • Check whoever collects your waste is registered with SEPA and it is going to an authorised facility.
  • Separate hazardous waste* from other types of waste, store it securely and use a consignment note when disposing of it. If in doubt, ask your waste contractor for help.
  • Ensure waste tyres are collected by legitimate operators - be suspicious of people offering unrealistically cheap collection services. This may be a sign that the waste is not being legally managed. 
  • Ensure waste cooking oil is is collected by a a delivery service provider and not left with general waste or poured out with waste water.

* Hazardous waste includes waste chemicals, flourescent lights, used solvents, asbestos and waste oil.

Waste transfer notes

You must use Waste Transfer Notes (WTN) to describe your waste if you have a collection service in place. This may be incorporated into your contract or payment invoice. 

WTNs ensure that there is a clear audit trail for managing waste legally. You must keep copies of all your WTNs for at least two years and be able to produce them if required by SEPA or council enforcement officers. 

The WTN must include:

  • A description of the waste
  • Details of the registered waste carrier including registration number
  • The quantity of the waste
  • The place, date and time of transfer
  • The name and address of both parties
  • Licence or permit details for the facility receiving the waste
  • The appropriate European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code for your waste
  • The Standard Industry Code (SIC) of your business

Business waste container exemption certificates

Business waste bins cannot be left on roads or pavements in the city centre between 12.30pm and 2.30pm each day.

If your business has nowhere else to store its bins during these times, you can apply for an exemption certificate. This will allow you leave the bins out on the street. Businesses will be fined if we have to remove unauthorised bins.

There is a charge of £100 per certificate. Each certificate applies to a single bin and is valid for one year. As part of the application process, a site visit will be conducted to assess whether there are any viable alternatives to leaving the bins on the street.

Businesses must already have business waste bin collections in place before applying for an exemption certificate.

Contact the Business Waste and Recycling team

Contact us
Did you find what you were looking for?

Status message

Please note, this form is anonymous, we can't reply directly to your feedback. If you would like to report an issue, make a complaint or suggestion, please Contact Us.