The Different Types of Commercial Waste, And How Should We Dispose of It?

30th Mar 2021

Should We Dispose of It?

Waste consists of anything in your possession that is no longer required or needed. Any type of waste that is a result of business or trading activities is classified as commercial waste. This is different from your typical agricultural or domestic waste and as such there are specific policies that dictate how it should be disposed of.

For this reason, a business will sometimes require specialist removal companies, as many typical removal services may refuse to dispose of commercial waste.

What types of commercial waste are there?

Different types of commercial waste can be categorised in a number of ways to ensure that traders and businesses can dispose of their waste properly. Usually split according to where the waste was generated, the categories are: Industrial and Manufacturing; Mining Companies; Hospitals, Restaurants, Veterinary Clinics; and Wholesalers and Retailers.

Commercial waste is also categorised by the specific type of waste that is generated by a business or trading activity. These include:

  • Biodegradable Waste: This includes any waste produced by a company that is composable and can be degraded by natural factors, such as paper waste, food waste, biodegradable plastics, etc.
  • Chemical Waste: This hazardous waste is made from harmful chemicals that could negatively impact humans or the environment, such as batteries, paint, oils, etc.
  • Construction Waste: Generated during construction activities or as a consequence of surplus building material. Construction waste includes concrete, bricks, cement, insulation and more.
  • Electronic Waste: Also referred to as “e-waste”, this includes any electronic equipment that has been discarded. Such as CPUs, which can contain potentially harmful materials.
  • Demolition Waste: There is often a great deal of waste involved in the demolition process. Similar to construction waste, this will include bricks, tiles, concrete, and even asbestos.
  • Food Waste: When from a commercial property, food waste will follow different disposal methods than a domestic property. Food waste should be allocated its own bin and collected by a specialised waste collection agency to be “re-used” by converting the food matter into energy for alternative uses.
  • Recyclables: Common recyclable materials are often a by-product of any commercial setting. This will include aluminium, plastics, paper, glass, cardboard and more.
  • General Waste: While most commercial waste can be included in one of the above categories, there are some products that will end up in the ‘general waste’ category. This will include non-recyclable papers or plastics.

How to efficiently store your waste?

To ensure that commercial waste remains unharmful to your employees and the environment, businesses are required to have efficient storage methods for all the waste they produce.

The best ways to ensure that your business has risk-free waste storage is to store your waste in a secure place. And, of course, try to reduce your waste as much as possible.

For example, when considering cardboard waste (the biggest waste contributor in most businesses), there can be some great benefits from the use of a cardboard baler. It provides a method of reducing your waste and making it economically viable to store.

How to dispose of your commercial waste?

Your business is legally responsible for safely containing and disposing of any commercial waste produced by business and trading activities.

There are two primary options to consider if you wish to dispose of your waste. Your company can choose to dispose of the waste itself, or you can arrange for another company to collect the waste and dispose of it for you.

Whichever method you choose, there are some key factors you should consider…

Dispose of your own waste

You can opt to dispose of your own waste, but you will be required to register as a waste carrier, dealer or broker (depending on your business model) and provide documents that indicate that you have appropriately disposed of your waste. These are called “waste transfer notes”.

A waste transfer note will provide a legal receipt indicating the following:

  • Where the waste was disposed of
  • How much waste there was
  • When you disposed of the waste
  • A description of the type of waste

If you choose to dispose of your own waste, you will need to renew your registry with the government every three years. Once you’re a registered waste carrier, your business details will appear on the government’s public registry.

Have someone else dispose of your waste

Of course the majority of businesses simply won’t have the capacity to dispose of their own waste. In these cases, there are a number of waste removal companies that are prepared to collect and dispose of the waste for you.

It is your duty, in this case, to ensure that this business is a licensed waste carrier – you can check whether your chosen contractor is licensed through the Environment Agency. Additionally, you must have completed documentation, known as “Duty of Care”, with your chosen contractor.

If you do not do a thorough check of the removal company, then you could be risking prosecution if your contractor is discovered to be unlicensed.

As such, it’s important to do thorough research beforehand.


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