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What Is A Waste Transfer Note?

Daniel Hill |

November 2022

Waste Red Bins

Waste transfer notes are important documents received from your commercial waste management provider to show proof of the transfer of waste from your business to its final destination. 

You should always receive a waste transfer note every time business waste is collected in either a physical document or digital. This records that you have met your duty of care and these documents must be stored for 2 years or 3 years for hazardous waste. 

These documents are crucial evidence that business waste has been handled safely and provides an audit trail should any issues arise. 

Why Waste Transfer Notes Are Important 

A waste transfer note is a legal document in the UK that tracks business waste from its original source to its final destination. You may be required to show evidence that you're handling commercial waste properly at some point and a waste transfer note will prove your obligations and duty of care have been met. 

The obligation to complete a waste transfer note helps reduce fly-tipping and protects local recycling centres. Waste carriers must be licenced to handle business waste and provide valid waste transfer documentation. It is your duty of care to ensure you appoint a licenced waste management company. 

How To Complete A Waste Transfer Note 

There's no template that every waste management company must use, and this means that many providers have their own. However, the information they contain remains the same no matter who you choose as your business waste services provider. 

Here's what you can expect to find on your waste transfer note: 

  • The name and licence details of your waste carrier 
  • The waste producer (your business) 
  • A description of the waste 
  • The amount/ weight of the waste 
  • The business waste location (pick-up point) and the date of collection 
  • Details of the business waste centre receiving the waste 
  • The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code 
  • The SIC code for your business if applicable 

All waste transfer documents must be signed by all parties involved.

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What Is The European Waste Catalogue (EWC)? 

The EWC is a list of waste descriptions divided into twenty main chapters. These chapters will have a two-digit code assigned to them between 01 and 20. 

These chapters relate to different industries but some variations exist as some relate to materials and processes. Within these chapters, you will find a six-figure code for individual waste types. 

In simple terms, an EWC code tracks what industry the waste is coming from and what type of waste is being disposed of. 

Who Will Request To See My Waste Transfer Note? 

There are several institutions that can request to see your waste transfer note. By law, you must have waste transfer notes for all your business waste collections and store them on file for 2 years. 

Here are some controlled waste carriers and authorities that my request to see waste transfer notes: 

  • Your local council - waste enforcement officers 
  • Your waste management company 
  • Scrap metal merchants 
  • Skip hire companies 

What If I Have Hazardous Waste? 

Hazardous waste has some extra responsibilities. When dealing with hazardous waste, the main duty of care attached to this is safety. 

For anything considered harmful such as chemicals, WEEE, etc - your business must receive a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note. 

This is similar to a waste transfer note but has alternative documentation for hazardous waste. You must keep your Hazardous Waste Consignment Note on file for 3 years. 

What Is The Difference Between A Waste Transfer Note And A Consignment Note? 

The waste transfer note covers all non-hazardous waste. This is slightly different from a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note as the added document required tracking controlled waste to a secure disposal site. 

A standard waste transfer note will need to be kept for 2 years, and a consignment note for hazardous waste will need to be kept for 3 years. 

Do I Need To Complete A Waste Transfer Note Every Time My Business Waste Is Collected? 

This depends on how regularly your business waste is collected and what kinds of waste you produce. 

Many businesses complete an annual waste transfer note when they switch to a new waste management provider to avoid the tedious task every week. 

Commonly known as a waste season ticket, this will cover business waste collections of the same type for 12 months. 

Any waste transfer that is different from your company’s usual output will need its own separate waste transfer note. 

Do I Need Waste Transfer Notes For Recycling Waste? 

Yes. Your waste carrier must provide waste transfer notes for recycling waste as well as any general business rubbish. 

Recycling waste must be stored safely and labelled to identify waste to avoid any cross-contamination before your registered waste carriers collect it. 

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About the author

Daniel has been writing for over 10 years and has a passion for helping businesses and households reduce their utility bills. He has a wealth of experience in professional services, so he knows the importance of business efficiency.

In his spare time, Daniel can be found catching touchdowns playing American Football and spending his Sundays watching the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL. 

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