Duty of care: code of practice for managing controlled waste

Statutory guidance on the duties that must be complied with by anyone who produces, keeps, imports or manages controlled waste in Scotland.

9 Your Obligations as a Householder

This section offers guidance to any occupier of a domestic property with respect to household waste produced on that property.

What are my responsibilities?

You have a duty to take all reasonable measures to comply with the Duty of Care whilst the waste is in your possession and to enable other holders in the chain to comply with the Duty. Breach of the Duty of Care may result in enforcement action being taken against you.

As a householder, you must :
  • Ensure that any waste that you produce is handled and stored safely, without causing harm to the environment and in accordance with the law.
  • Ensure that any household waste produced on your property is only transferred to a carrier that is appropriately registered with SEPA.

What does this mean?

It is your responsibility to ensure that any waste produced on your property is only taken by someone who is authorised to carry that waste. In order to do this you should ask that person/company if they are a registered waste carrier. You may wish to confirm the registration is valid and this can be done by checking the SEPA public register. Only after you have confirmed such proof should you give your waste to them. It is advisable to ask where your waste is going.

You should be suspicious of people or businesses offering unrealistically cheap waste services. This may be a sign that the waste is not being legally managed.

When your waste is collected by your local authority or their contractor they will already be registered as a waste carrier, you do not therefore need to check their details. You are also not required to exchange paperwork with them. The same is true for a charity uplifting textiles from a doorstep collection.

You still have responsibility to store your waste safely, without causing harm or pollution to the environment and in accordance with the law while it is awaiting collection.

If you give your waste to a friend or neighbour to dispose of then you need to ensure that they will be taking the waste to a site with an environmental permit, for example the local civic amenity site. A civic amenity site is provided by the local authority only for householders to deposit their own household waste. Each local authority operates such sites differently.


  • If you take a large van full of waste, the operator of the site would have the right to ask you to prove that the waste is from your own household so take some evidence with you.
  • If you visit the site regularly the site operator may suspect that you are producing waste as part of a business and as a result may request payment, or refuse entry until they see some proof of carrier registration.

If you contract a builder or tradesperson such as a landscape gardener, plumber, kitchen contractor, glazier, carpet fitter etc to undertake work that results in the production of waste then they will normally be considered to be producing that waste.

You should check what their plans are for the recycling or disposal of waste and that the cost is included in their quote. It is their legal responsibility to arrange for appropriate disposal of all waste that is generated as a result of their business activity.

However, as it has been produced on your property you have a responsibility to make reasonable checks to ensure that the waste will be carried by appropriately registered people.

If you have not made reasonable checks to ensure that waste produced on your property is carried by appropriately registered people and that waste is subsequently found to have been fly-tipped you may share liability with the fly-tipper and be subject to enforcement action.


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