Why do you need a licenced waste carrier?

Two men loading a wheelie bin into the back of a truck used by a licenced waste carrier

When you’re producing a lot of waste, it might be easy to pick the first waste carrier you come across. However, they may not be authorised to handle your waste and could be disposing it in ways that are damaging the environment. Therefore, it’s important to check that the waste carrier you’re choosing has a valid waste carrier licence.

What is a waste carrier licence?

A waste carrier licence helps to ensure everyone who produces waste that the company they are using will dispose of their waste correctly. It applies to any people or businesses who are dealing with waste. The licence covers transporting, disposing, buying, selling waste as well as anyone who manages or arranges for others to do this on their behalf. It was introduced by the Environment Agency to ensure that everyone who is dealing with waste, is authorised to dispose of it safely and correctly.

Waste carrier licences are split into two separate tiers. There’s upper tier licences and lower tier licences. If a company has an upper tier licence, they will need to register with the Environment Agency every three years. Lower tier carriers licences are used for companies who only carry and dispose of the waste that they produce themselves. Businesses will only need to register for this one as these licences do not expire. If businesses fail to register for their relevant licence, they could be fined up to £5,000.

Two men throwing a box into the back of a bin lorry used by a licenced waste carrier.
A lorry for carrying waste in a carpark with other lorries. These are all used by companies with a waste carrier licence.

Why do you need a licenced waste carrier?

It’s your legal responsibility to make sure that any waste you are producing is disposed of correctly and safely. If you’re using a waste carrier without a licence, they may not be disposing your waste in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. Duty of Care legislation requires that, as a producer of waste, you’re ensuring that, even once the waste has left your possession, it is being treated properly.

What happens if you don’t use one?

A waste carrier without a licence could be disposing of your waste by fly-tipping or in a dangerous matter. Any waste that you produce is ultimately your responsibility and you must make sure it’s being disposed of properly. If this waste has been disposed of unlawfully and is traced back to you, it may result in some hefty fines for your business. One Dartford based business had their waste tracked back to them after an unlicenced waste carrier fly tipped their waste. They had to pay a £300 Fixed Penalty Notice and pay £380 towards the costs of removing the waste the carrier fly tipped.

An unlicenced waste carrier may be disposing of your waste in a way that harms the environment. In 2021/22, local authorities in England dealt with over 1 million fly tipping incidents. The waste being dumped in these incidents could cause long lasting damaging effects on the environment. A lot of this waste is left in farmlands or rural areas so could damage livestock and crops. If left in urban areas, it can attract vermin or spread dangerous diseases.

How can you check if your waste carrier is licenced?

Once companies have registered with the Environment Agency, businesses will receive a Certificate of Registration under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. Most companies will have their licence available to view on their website. Ours is available to view here.

If you want to verify your waste carrier in more depth before choosing to use their services, you can use the Environment Agency’s register to check whether the company you plan to use is registered. This will include every waste carrier, broker, and dealer registered in the UK and help give you the peace of mind that you’re using the right waste carrier.

Contact us

Flame UK are a licenced waste carrier and can help you to manage your waste collections in a sustainable way. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

We can improve your waste management and cut your costs.

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