What you must do

Small composters

Small scale composters are commonly used to compost vegetable material from staff rooms and lunch boxes. In schools for example these can provide a valuable teaching aid for a number of topics. Many offices have small composters within their grounds.

You must register small composters with your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

In Scotland, SEPA has produced a single registration form which allows multiple registrations from multiple small composting units at different sites. This reduces the administration required, for example by a local council which encourages composting in all its schools. You can obtain this form from your local SEPA office.

SEPA: Contact details

Green waste

If contractors remove green waste material on your behalf, you must ensure that they transport and dispose of it legally.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you carry out the work yourself, you can use the green waste to produce compost for use on your site, or carry out cutting, shredding, chipping or pulverisation of wood waste for recovery purposes. This can produce compost, chipped bark, wood shavings or sawdust for mulching and soil improvement.

In Northern Ireland if you normally and regularly carry waste in the course of your day-to-day business or with a view to profit, and if you carry certain specific waste types, especially construction and demolition waste, you must be registered as a waste carrier with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Northern Ireland - Guidance on who should register

In Scotland if you normally and regularly transport waste produced by your own business, you must register with SEPA as a professional collector or transporter of waste. This is a new requirement for businesses. If you transport your own construction or demolition waste you must usually register as a waste carrier. You can register for this online.

SEPA: Waste Carriers and Brokers - Online Application 

See our guidance on waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

If you store less than 1,000 cubic metres , or 400 tonnes at any one time in Scotland, of biodegradable waste you can register an exemption with your environmental regulator. For larger quantities you will require a waste management licence. You may also have to meet other conditions specified by your environmental regulator, for example sighting of the composting area away from surface water drains or watercourses.

You will have to register an exemption with your environmental regulator if you chip, shred or cut waste wood for recovery purposes and you handle less than 1,000 tonnes per week (400 tonnes at any one time in Scotland). For larger quantities you will require a licence.

Contact your environmental regulator

Further information

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