Recent evidence of widespread non-compliance with Duty of Care legislation for waste, introduced by the government in 1990, has led to the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of the law and its requirements. ‘right Waste, right Place’ is primarily aimed at informing smaller businesses about the law and their obligations, as research suggests that 94 percent of these non-compliant organisations are SMEs.
Lack of compliance has contributed to the growing problem of waste crime, particularly with regard to fly tipping, as the number of recorded incidents soared to 900,000 in England during 2014/15. This represented an 11 percent increase on the previous year, and cost local authorities at least £50 million in costs which could have been used to provide other much-needed services. Commercial waste proved to be the second largest component of fly tipping, and had risen by 18 percent over the year.
Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the ESA, commented: “The number of organisations actively involved with this project, representing a broad range of sectors, shows just how serious an issue Duty of Care compliance is. Very few organisations want to actively flout the law, but most are simply not informed about what they have to do. Unfortunately being uninformed is no protection from the law, and we believe that more companies will find themselves exposed to prosecution unless they take the right steps to comply. The right Waste, right Place campaign is designed to help fill the very evident knowledge gap, especially with SMEs.”
The encouraging news is that research shows that 90% of non-compliant businesses, when informed about their obligations under Duty of Care, expressed the aspiration to comply. The key to achieving this was raising awareness of what their obligations are and what they had to do to meet them.