A waste transfer note is a legal document that details the transfer of waste from one person to another (or one company to a waste disposal contractor). You must ensure every load of waste you receive or pass to others is covered by a Waste Transfer Note. This includes waste paper that you have collected by a confidential waste disposal company such as Waste Paper Solutions. The company you use must also be a licensed waste carrier by law. It is your responsibility to ensure you use a licensed contractor and that your waste transfer notes are up to date.

Waste Transfer Notes ensure that there is a clear audit trail from when the waste is produced until it is disposed of. You must keep copies of all your Waste Transfer Notes for at least two years and must be able to produce them on demand to your environmental regulator or local council, or you could be fined.

You must check that anyone you pass your waste to holds the relevant registration, permit or exemption for the type of waste you pass to them.

What a Waste Transfer Note  should contain;

A Waste Transfer Note must be completed and signed by both the person handing over the waste and the person receiving it. (ie your company name and the name of the waste disposal contractor/document shredding company). It must contain enough information about the waste for it to be handled safely and either recovered or disposed of legally. If you do not give enough information and your waste is mismanaged as a result, you could be prosecuted. All waste transfer notes must detail;

  • a description of the waste
  • any processes the waste has been through
  • how the waste is contained or packaged
  • the quantity of the waste
  • the place, date and time of transfer
  • the name and address of both parties (waste producer and waste disposal contractor)
  • details of the permit, licence or exemption of the person receiving the waste
  • the appropriate European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code for your waste
  • the Standard Industry Code (SIC) of your business

It will also include a statement that you have applied the waste hierarchy.

You can find the SIC code that applies to your business on the SIC Code Support website here.

You should never rely on waste carriers or waste management contractors to describe your waste for you. As the producer, you are most able to describe your waste accurately. It is not acceptable to use non-specific terms such as ‘general waste’.
You need to complete separate paperwork for hazardous/special waste – see our guideline on hazardous/special waste.
For repeat transfers you can use an annual waste transfer note. This is a single document that can cover multiple transfers over a period of up to 12 months. You can agree to use an annual transfer note if all of the following stay the same:

  • the parties involved in the transfer – the waste producer and the waste carrier or waste disposal business
  • the description of the waste being transferred
  • the place where the waste is transferred from one person to the other

If any of these conditions change, you will need a new Waste Transfer Note

All businesses produce waste and most types of business waste are classed as controlled waste. Controlled waste includes commercial, industrial and household waste.

You have a legal responsibility to ensure that you produce, store, transport and dispose of controlled waste without harming the environment. This is called your duty of care.

This guide explains what you must do to comply with your duty of care for waste. It describes how to segregate and store your waste safely, who can deal with your waste, and the records you must keep.