Commercial Waste

Most businesses in the borough have a contract with a private company to dispose of their waste. If you are one of these businesses, we’d like to say thank you for doing the right thing.

Report dumped rubbish to the councilA small minority don't have a waste disposal contract and simply dump their waste on the street or mix it with domestic waste. Find out about the Duty of Care, how to find a local waste carrier, frequently asked questions and how to report a waste crime.

  • Fly-tipping is not fair on businesses who do the right thing
  • It damages trade by making the streets unsightly
  • It costs us in excess of £135,000 a year to remove dumped waste
  • So we’re going to be identifying more businesses who dump rubbish and fining or prosecuting them

Help us by reporting fly-tipping to the council.

Duty of Care

Your legal duty to take care of trade waste, what this means and how it affects your business:

Under Environmental Protection Act 1990 anyone who produces, imports, keeps, stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste has a duty to take all reasonable steps to keep it safe.

The Duty of Care applies to all businesses and if the Duty of Care is broken you may be prosecuted and fined an unlimited amount. We want to ensure this does not happen to your business.

The law says you must ‘take all reasonable steps’ to fulfil the duty and complete an annual Waste Transfer Note. What is ‘reasonable’ depends on what you do with your waste. For example, you must stop waste escaping from your control by storing it safely and securely and you must also prevent it from causing pollution or harming anyone.

The following steps may be considered reasonable in meeting the duty of care:

  • Keep all waste in a suitable container. Avoid any leakage of fluid and grease by first wrapping food and vegetable matter in paper. If you put loose waste in a skip or on a lorry, cover it and ensure it is well lit at night
  • Please note that the waste generated by your business will not be collected with household waste - you will breach the duty of care if you allow this to happen
    If you give waste to someone else, which may include a contract cleansing company, check that they are an authorised waste carrier
  • Each year you must describe the waste in writing by completing a form called a Waste Transfer Note. Your authorised waste collector will provide you with one of these which will cover all your waste transfers for one year only. By law you must keep a copy of your ‘Waste Transfer Note’ for up to two years
  • Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, every business has a legal duty of care to ensure that the waste produced, however small or large the amount, is disposed of properly by a licensed waste carrier

As a business, you are also legally required to keep copies of your trade waste contract for the previous two years. Our Team can request documents for up to the past two years. Failure to show these may result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £300 or the matter being referred to court, where if found guilty a fine of up to £5,000 may be given.

To help businesses understand how to correctly dispose of their waste, a handy leaflet with top tips and facts about Duty of Care is available to download.

Download the Duty of Care leaflet PDF [1501KB] 

Further guidance is provided by Kent County Council.


Enforcement officers may enforce against those who breach the Duty of Care to ensure all waste is put out for collection at the right time and disposed of legally. If you suspect someone is breaking the law, please contact Street Scene.

Commercial waste specialist removal companies

There are several licensed specialist waste companies operating in the Ashford borough. 

Find a local business and see if they have a waste carriers licence.

Raw meat disposal

The DEFRA helpline can provide up-to-date information on licensed raw meat carriers: 03459 335 577.

Non-hazardous waste

Find out what to do with your non-hazardous waste on the GOV website.

Hazardous waste

Read details on how to dispose of hazardous waste on the GOV website.

Save money by recycling

Reducing waste by recycling means less environmental impact and can save your business money. Contact your waste contractor to find out more.

Most commercial contracting companies can recycle all clean and dry waste: paper (not shredded paper) and card, food and drink cartons (also Tetra Pak), glass bottles and jars, cans, tins, empty aerosol cans, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays (rigid plastics with no lids).

Waste legislation and regulations

EU Waste Legislation – guidance for businesses and organisations on how waste disposal is regulated and what they need to do to comply.

How to present waste and recycling for collection

Help the town environment by correctly presenting and placing out your commercial waste and recycling at the times and collection points in your agreement.

All wheeled containers should be clearly labelled with your contractor’s signage and should be stored within the curtilage of your property for collection. They may need full access including a dropped kerb for larger bins to empty the containers.

Revising or changing your agreement

Because waste fluctuates, you may require a more flexible service that allows you to increase or decrease the collection service every three months. This helps to lower your costs and keeps collections on schedule, contact your commercial waste disposal provider for more information.

If you place commercial waste on the street for collection you must comply with the council's commercial waste regulations.

Illegally dumped and fly-tipped waste

Our enforcement team and street monitoring officers are committed to ensuring that those responsible for all illegally dumped waste are identified and prosecution of the offenders pursued wherever possible.

Reported fly-tipping to the Street Scene enforcement team via the online report It form so it can be investigated and cleared.

Contact us

For fly-tipping and other general enquiries please call the Environment and Contracts team (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or email Street Scene at

Reporting waste crime

Enforcement officers may enforce against those who breach the Duty of Care agreement to ensure all waste is put out for collection at the right time and disposed of legally. If you suspect someone is breaking the law please Report It.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I dispose of my business waste, your “Duty of Care”?+

There are two basic options:

Option 1 – dispose of your own waste

You must register as a waste carrier. Visit the Environmental Agency for more details and how to apply.

You'll be required to provide documents called ‘Waste Transfer Notes’ or provide some form of receipts showing:

  • Where you disposed of the waste (tip location)
  • How much there was (weight)
  • When it was tipped (date) and what waste was tipped (type)
  • You may be able to take it to one of Kent County Councils Transfer Stations, however, you are advised to contact them prior to your visit to set up an account

Option 2 – have someone else collect and dispose of it for you

  • They must be ‘licensed waste carriers’
  • You must have filled in a form commonly known as a ‘Duty of Care’ with your chosen contractor
  • You can check with the Environment Agency that your contractor is licensed
  • You are committing offences and can be prosecuted if you give your waste to anyone who is not licensed to carry and dispose of controlled waste

Further information about your responsibilities and disposal sites within Kent is available from KCC

Does the ‘Duty of Care’ apply to me?+

It applies to anyone who produces, stores, transports, treats and disposes of business waste.

But my business does not produce any waste’?+

This is highly unlikely, as business waste includes:

  • Post you get
  • Food your staff eat or drink on the business premises
  • Damaged or scrapped items
  • Floor sweepings
  • Cleaning materials
  • General waste that cannot be recycled
  • Litter bin contents

This is also classed as commercial waste. It is an offence to take it home and place it in your domestic bin, or take it to a household waste recycling centre or to dispose of it any other way except in accordance with the Duty of Care. You will have to prove to the courts that you do not produce any waste whatsoever. You can recycle a lot of commercial waste but it still needs to be legally documented with your chosen contractor.

What do I need to do?+

Make sure any waste you produce is safely stored in a suitable container.

If waste is put in a bin or a skip, it needs to be closed and covered so the waste cannot escape or be interfered with. If it is put in your chosen contractor’s trade bags, keep them contained and do not put them out until the time of your collection.

Whoever collects your waste, make sure they have the authority to do so. They must be registered with the Environment Agency. If it’s a one off or non-regular collection, a waste transfer note must be completed. If you have a regular waste contract collection, this will normally be found on the contract you signed with your chosen waste collector, also known as a ‘Duty of Care Note’.

If you dispose of your own waste, you must pay for the disposal and keep all your receipts and tipping notes for at least two years.

What penalties apply?+

If you are found to be disposing of your waste illegally you will be prosecuted.

The maximum penalty is a fine of £50,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment in the Magistrates Court, five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine at the Crown Court.

What happens when someone finds YOUR waste fly-tipped?+

Can you prove that YOU haven’t dumped it there and that you have complied with all the requirements detailed above? If you can’t, you may be liable to a fine up to £50,000 and up to five years imprisonment. Failure to produce authority (waste transfer notes) can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £300.

The main misconception is that once the waste has been put out by a business as far as some are concerned, the waste is no longer their problem. This is completely incorrect and all producers of waste have a legal responsibility and duty for their waste until it is collected by a legal waste carrier.

What if someone else uses my bin?+

Often bin lids are left wide open or unlocked bins or waste is left on the floor because the contractor failed to collect it. This is still your waste and you are liable for it.

You must (by law) prevent the escape of waste by either yourselves or someone going through your waste, which is a common problem. You must ensure your bin is secured at all times.

You must ensure you have the sufficient number of collections by your contractor to remove all of your waste and avoid it spilling out or to avoid your bin being overfilled.

If your contractor fails to collect your waste?+

You cannot leave it on the street and you must take it back inside your premises. If you have business waste bins and your contractor has not emptied your bin, contact them at once to attend as a matter of urgency. Do not under any circumstances continue to over fill the bin so that the lid cannot be locked or even worse, place waste at the side of the bin or in other peoples bins.

Don’t ignore the bin with the damaged wheel, the burnt out lid or the one with the lock missing. Keep your bin and your bin area clean. Put this on a staff rota for someone to check daily. Get your contractor to change your bin if necessary

It was the cleaners who didn’t know where to put the rubbish?+

This type of excuse is often used but in reality, it is the owners, occupiers and managers who have a legal duty for anyone they employ to ensure they know what to do with their waste. It certainly won’t be the cleaner going to court.

Most offences are caused by the businesses’ own staff or contractors failing in their duties. This could be as simple as your staff not knowing the basic rules and procedures. Make sure your staff are fully trained on waste disposal and waste management. If they deal with waste, they should know what to do with it and where it goes.

"We share a yard or our rubbish was ok when we put it out". You are still responsible for your own waste at all times and you must keep it tidy and secure.

Check your waste regularly. Take care in disposing of waste that may contain personal information.

What will happen when the council come to my business?+

Street Scene officers will attend your premises and inspect that you are meeting the Duty of Care obligations. 

If you are unable to evidence this at the time, a fourteen day notice is issued requiring you to produce such evidence. If this is not met, the notice then becomes a Fixed Penalty Notice of £300.