The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty of care on all persons who import, produce, carry, keep, treat or dispose of waste or who, as brokers, have control of such waste. In practice, the duty applies to all industries and businesses in the UK, because all businesses produce waste of some description.

All organisations have to ensure that they properly manage and store their waste, and pass it on to an authorised person (normally a registered waste carrier) for appropriate treatment or disposal. They must take the waste hierarchy into account when deciding how to treat or dispose of their waste. The correct documentation also needs to be maintained, and organisations need to provide waste transfer documentation and waste carrier registration details for all waste transfers. Transfer notes can be in paper or electronic form. The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently developing a mandatory online waste tracking system. Electronic duty of care (edoc), the voluntary electronic transfer note system, closed down on 23 September 2021.

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