A new campaign has been launched to increase awareness of best practice waste disposal following findings that as many as 56% of business are not maintaining compliance with current legislation. Managed by the Environmental Service Association (ESA), “Right Waste, Right Place” has also received the backing of a number of high profile trade associations and is hoped to transform the every day habitus of local and global businesses.
The legislation, dubbed Duty of Care, came into force over 15 years ago as a core strand of the Environmental Protection Act. Covering all those in contact with waste â that is, those who import, store, transport, treat or dispose of waste materials â the law make mandatory proper management and disposal procedure as it relates to both public health and safety and the environment. If people are found in breach of the law â the majority of violations falling under fly tipping offences â they face a visit to Magistrates Court a hefty fine of up to £5,000. Some serious offenders committing serial crimes could even be taken to Crown Court at which there is no limit on fines.
Despite the legal restrictions in place, however, many are still undeterred and incidents of fly tipping were up 11% during the period of 2014/15, representing some 900,000 offences. In order to prevent crimes being committed in ignorance and encourage a stronger culture of proper waste disposal, the Right Waste, Right Place campaign is specifically targeting smaller businesses and looking to ensure companies understand the law and their responsibilities with regards to waste disposal. The focus comes as recent research suggests an alarming 94% of non-compliant organisations are SMEs. And commercial waste, itself, is the second largest contributor to fly tipping â rising 18% over 2014/15 year.
Whilst one of the main threats that improper waste disposal represents is, of course, to environmental, fly tipping also puts local authorities at risk â stretching their ever depleting budgets to accommodate clean-up costs. Indeed, fly tipping costs councils approximately £50m every year â a figure which is unsustainable long-term.
Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at ESA, was sympathetic to those finding themselves on the wrong side of the law though added that being uniformed is no protection from the law. He was likewise hopeful that the campaign would go some way to addressing the shortfall in knowledge and understanding about the various obligations related to waste disposal and ensure than companies were compliant in future.
The Right Waste, Right Place campaign is to comprise practical advice for businesses small and large to improve their waste disposal practice and mitigate the risk of prosecution. As part of the campaign, companies can also make use of a dedicated website and portal from which to view more detailed information and services.