Waste Paperwork – Frequently Asked Questions

In this article, The Compliance People consultant, Kerry Hammick will answer 5 common questions we get on waste duty of care paperwork and what is legally required. 

If your organisation produces, moves, or recovers / disposes of waste then you have legal waste duty of care obligations which you must understand and comply with. The Compliance People often receive questions on how to meet these obligations in terms of waste transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes. The Compliance People Consultant Ellie Galston has put together this list of the top 5 questions we’re most commonly asked to help you comply with your organisation’s waste duty of care.

Please note these all relate to compliance in England and Wales, but we have webinars and FAQs on waste documentation also available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Need some extra information? We’re running virtual Waste Duty of Care Training in October and November, suitable for those with responsibilities for waste produced at their site(s).

What is a waste transfer note?

A waste transfer note (WTN) is a legally required document which must be completed for all transfers of non-hazardous waste to another party (i.e. every time waste changes hands). The format of a WTN must conform to the requirements laid out in Part 9 of The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

A WTN can be issued to cover a particular collection, or for multiple collections of the same waste type, from the same site, by the same waste carrier, over a maximum period of 1 year (a ‘season ticket’).

WTNs are not required by an occupier of domestic property for the removal of household waste produced on the property.

What is the difference between a waste transfer note (WTN) and a consignment note?

A WTN is a legally required document for non-hazardous waste. When hazardous waste is moved, it must be accompanied by correctly completed paperwork called a consignment note, or hazardous waste consignment note (HWCN). The note must be prepared before any hazardous waste is moved and is required for all movements of hazardous waste. The format of a HWCN must meet the requirements set out in The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005.

What is an annual waste transfer note and when can they be used?

An annual WTN or ‘season ticket’ is a single WTN that covers a series of non-hazardous waste transfers. The annual WTN can last up to 1 year and be used for regular transfers of the same type of non-hazardous waste with the same waste carrier from the same site. If you have several sites serviced by the same carrier with the same types of waste collected, they can be listed in a schedule to the annual WTN. It must be clear on the WTN what period it covers.

You should also keep a record of the collection times and the quantity of waste collected each time. A good way to do this is to get a delivery ticket from the waste carrier for each load collected stating when the collection took place and how much was collected.

Why do I need a WTN?

Waste needs to be disposed of legally and correctly to protect people and the environment. It is a legal requirement that WTNs are completed for all transfers of waste to another party. WTNs allow the regulator to understand what wastes are being generated and how they are being disposed of and / or recovered. They provide a clear auditable paper trail from when the waste is produced to when it is disposed of and can help to evidence that a business has met its statutory duty of care.

Do I have to keep paper copies of WTNs and HWCNs?

Paper or electronic copies of WTNs are acceptable. For non-hazardous waste in England and Wales you can use:

  • A paper WTN – a form to fill in or you can use alternative documentation, e.g. an invoice, as long as it contains all the required information. The Environment Agency has a template WTN which, if filled in correctly, should meet the requirements for what the note must contain.
  • An electronic WTN, as above.

For hazardous waste consignment notes, paper or electronic copies are also acceptable. The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales provide a template consignment note. You can use your own consignment note but it must have all the same information fields as this one and be as near to the same format as possible.

It is a legal requirement to keep copies of all WTNs / waste transfer information for at least two years. Hazardous waste consignment notes must be retained for a minimum of three years.

Keen to find out more about waste duty of care and waste paperwork? Join one of our online tutored training courses. Over two training modules conducted over Microsoft Teams, one of our experienced consultants will provide a comprehensive overview of the waste duty of care and other relevant waste legislation that is applicable in England, to give you the skills required to comply. Book your place now.