Commercial Waste

Almost all businesses in Cornwall use licensed commercial waste companies for the collection and disposal of their waste and recycling, however we are aware that there are some businesses that illegally use the Council’s household waste services.

All the Council’s collection services, eg, kerbside collections, Household Waste Recycling Centres and recycling banks are for household waste and recycling only. These services are funded by Council Tax income and are not provided for commercially generated waste.

Any waste produced from a business is classified in law as commercial waste. The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 details how waste is classified, including waste generated by farms, pubs, self-catering accommodation, hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses when occupied by paying guests. 

NB: This can also include your own home, annexe or a caravan if you rent these out for the provision of self-catering accommodation even for short periods of time.

Commercial waste collection and disposal costs are also not covered through the payment of National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), ie, business rates.

All producers of commercial waste have a Duty of Care to take all reasonable steps to manage their waste correctly and keep it safe. If you give waste to someone else, you must be sure that they are authorised to collect, transport, recycle or dispose of it safely and legally. If you break this law, you can be fined an unlimited amount.

This duty is set out in Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and requires businesses to use a waste collection and disposal company that:

  • follows regulations on how waste is stored and transported
  • is registered through the Environment Agency
  • has a current Waste Carriers Licence issued by the Environment Agency
  • has an up-to-date and correct Waste Transfer Notice document.

The Environment Agency has produced a useful guide to help businesses to manage their waste called Right Waste, Right Place.  The duty of care applies to anyone who produces or imports, keeps or stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste.  It also applies if you act as a broker and arrange any of these services.

There are a number of licensed commercial waste collection companies in Cornwall, and details of these can be obtained by simple searches or through the Environment Agency.

Different businesses produce different types and volumes of waste. Therefore, it is appropriate to charge each business for the waste it produces.

You are not permitted by law to dispose or recycle commercial waste through the household collection service.

If you produce commercial waste as a result of your business activities, you must be able to prove that you have given your waste to a registered waste carrier or taken it to a licensed waste site. If you cannot prove this, you could be fined an unlimited amount.

If you give your waste to an unregistered waste carrier, they may illegally dispose of your waste, ie, through fly-tipping and you, as the producer of the waste, could be fined.

The duty of care applies to recycling as well as residual waste, so you must ensure that you use a registered contractor for your business recycling.

Each business has to make its own recycling arrangements and there is usually a charge for the service. The cost of recycling commercial waste is not included in business rates. 

Disposal of waste will normally cost more than recycling and should always be your last choice.

Reducing the amount of waste your business produces will always save money. An audit of your rubbish and recycling will show where wastage occurs and could help you form a waste reduction plan.

Smaller companies can also join together to get a better rates for their recycling collections.