Registering to carry controlled waste

The law says that anyone who moves waste as part of their business must register with the Environment Agency.



Penalties for not registering

Carrying waste without being registered is against the law. Anyone found can be fined up to £5000. Giving waste to an unregistered company or person is also against the law, and anyone caught could also be fined up to £5000.


Registering as a waste carrier

The easiest way to register is to apply online by going to the Environment Agency website at

If you prefer to apply in writing and do not already have a form, you can print off a copy of the application form on their website or ask for one by calling 08708 506 506.


There are exemptions for certain activities and certain types of waste. For example, disposing of certain types of waste on agricultural land to improve the soil or for another ecological improvement. Exemptions only apply if they comply with the general rules of the exemption and do not harm the environment or human health.

The main types of business who are exempt are charities and voluntary organisations.

Most waste carriers will still need to register their exemption with the Environment Agency.

The duty of care

Registered waste carriers have to comply with the duty of care requirements. The duty of care is about making sure waste does not harm the environment or human health. Anyone handling waste must make sure it is handled safely and only passed on to others who are allowed to receive it. There are some simple rules to follow:

  • Check the person you transfer the waste to is properly authorised to accept it, for example, they hold the necessary permit or registration.
  • Make sure each transfer of waste is covered by a waste transfer note.
  • Make sure the waste is safely contained and cannot escape.

Waste transfer notes

A waste transfer note must be completed, signed and kept by anyone who gives waste to anyone else. It is against the law not to keep these records. The note must include:

  • a written description of the waste being passed on;
  • a specific code that describes the waste (see "waste codes" section below);
  • how the waste is contained, such as in a drum or skip;
  • the amount of waste;
  • the name of the person taking the waste and their status, for example, registered waste carrier; and
  • the address where the waste was transferred.

You will need to provide your own waste transfer notes but details of what you need to cover are on the Environment Agency website

You must keep a copy of all transfer notes for two years. We may ask to inspect them at any time during the two-year period.

Failure to produce a waste transfer note on request could lead to prosecution or a fixed penalty charge of £300.

Waste codes

By law, you must use an appropriate waste code to describe the waste on any transfer note.

You can find these codes and further guidance on how to use them on the Environment Agency website.

Hazardous waste

If you transport, buy or sell hazardous waste, or give hazardous waste to anyone else, you must comply with the Hazardous Waste Regulations.

Please visit the Environment Agency website to find out what you must do.