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The early bird sometimes catches more than just the worm!

As the Festive Season approaches and all manner of services rearrange their routines over the Christmas and New Year period, this on some occasions can spell trouble for you, particularly in the area of waste management.

I am currently dealing with a number of investigations and prosecutions by Local Authorities of operators who, in the main, have just been too keen when putting waste out for collection.

Local Authority Officers, like Police Officers are perhaps always there when you don’t want them!

There have been a number of occasions where Local Authority Officers have spotted waste being put out too early for collection or left too long and this either results in hefty fixed penalty notice fines or prosecutions in the courts.

This can also result in the business in question receiving a Notice under the Environmental Protection Act, which formally stipulates when waste can be left out and how it is stored and managed at a business premises. These are particularly onerous and sometimes, unless checked carefully, are virtually impossible to comply with, depending on where you operate and who your waste carrier is.

Over the Festive Period, make sure all of your staff know when and where waste should be left out for collection and ensure that no third parties add to the waste if it is left at the kerbside or in a public place awaiting collection. Unfortunately, many operators are prosecuted due to events unknown to them, by someone else leaving their waste outside their premises and them “carrying the can” for it.

Waste management is such an easy thing to get right when you know and abide by the arrangements you have for your particular premises but it also is very easy to get it wrong, with some significant penalties and inconvenience when this happens.

Make sure during this Festive Season that everyone knows what they should and shouldn’t be doing, check whether your operators have told you of any revised collection times and reflect this in your procedures. If a collection is missed, take the waste back off the street or other point until you are sure it can be collected again within the timescales permitted.

As I say, it is so easy to get right but also so easy to get wrong. At £400 for a Fixed Penalty Notice and fines running into many thousands of pounds in the case a prosecution, it is something that you could well do without!