Householder and business responsibility

Waste disposal rules for businesses

What this means to you

As a business in Sutton that produces or stores waste, you have a legal Duty of Care under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ensure that you manage your waste properly.

The council is committed to take whatever action is necessary to improve the environment from education through, where necessary to enforcement action. The Council will always take action against anyone who has not taken all reasonable measures to make sure that they passed their waste to an authorised person; if prosecuted and convicted you could face a fine of up to £50,000. Fines for illegal deposit of waste can be up to £50,000.

Who can you use to collect your business waste?

Businesses must enter into a contract with Registered Waste carrier to collect their waste.

Waste must only be collected by a person authorised to do so. Whilst the Council offers a free service to householders to collect domestic waste, all businesses must enter into a contract with a registered waste carrier to take their business waste. You may choose whichever registered waste carrier that you wish to collect your waste.

All waste carriers must be registered with the Environment Agency. These include:

Regardless of whom you are giving your waste to, it is your responsibility to make sure they have the authority to take it. You can do this by checking information on the Environment Agency website or by ringing 08708 506 506

Registered waste carriers will issue a Waste Transfer Note for the waste that they take from you.  It is a legal requirement for businesses to keep these notes for two years.  The Council has a legal right to ask to see these Notes. Failure to produce Waste Transfer Notes when requested is liable to lead to enforcement action being taken and an unlimited fine.

What you must do

  • You must place you waste safely in suitable containers when you put your waste out for collection. If waste is stored in sacks, the sacks must be clearly identifiable as belonging to a specific licensed waste carrier. Do not use unmarked sacks/bags.
  • Any waste placed out loose, or in unidentifiable bags is liable to lead to enforcement action being taken against the offender for littering. The Council may issue the offender with a fixed penalty notices of £80 for this type of littering or institute legal action which could lead to a fine of up to £2,500 for each offence.
  • It is illegal to put trade or commercial waste in or by street litterbins. The Council may issue the offender with a fixed penalty notices of £80 for this type of littering or institute legal action which could lead to a fine of up to £2,500 for each offence
  • You must not remove waste from your business and add it to your waste at home as this breaches your Duty of Care.  The maximum penalty for breach of Duty of Care is an unlimited fine.
  • It is your responsibility to train your staff about how to manage waste legally. Sutton Council will take enforcement action against those who break the laws surrounding waste collection.
In summary:

  • Only use a registered waste carrier. Ask to see their registration certificate
  • Ask where the waste will be taken, it must only go to an authorised site.
  • Don't assume people who advertise in the local papers, newsagents or put cards through your door are legitimate. Always check them out.
  • Always get a receipt that includes a company or trading name, address and phone number.
  • Remember people who collect waste have to pay to dispose of it so if it seems cheap then its probably too good to be true
  • Our advice is not to use people who cold call at your door offering to take waste away.

Contact us 

If you need any information about registered waste carriers please contact:

  • Sutton Council's Streetscene Enforcement Officer
  • Telephone: 020 8770 5000 or
  • Contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506 or view their public register.