Sanitary Bins Law
Sanitary waste is classified as “Offensive Waste” by the Department of Health, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency (see The Regulations Page). However, there are some sanitary bin companies and waste companies that use sanitary bins law terminology and legislation which could confuse, mislead and worry your organisation and therefore you may feel you required a sanitary bin contractor to deal with your sanitary bins. For example they may inform you that you must use their services because:
- The waste is automatically hazardous/infectious/medical/clinical
- You need to be registered for this waste
- Your organisation requires an annual disposal certificate for your sanitary waste
- Your organisation requires a Duty of Care Licence
- You need to classify offensive waste separately as is different to general (black bag waste)
Some companies also highlight numerous pieces of sanitary bins law information, including The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Duty of Care Regulations 1991, as well as using words such as risking “fines” and “imprisonment” and phrases such as “sanitary waste is a controlled waste and must be disposed of under strict legislation”. These companies use terms to scare small organisations (or larger companies with numerous smaller sites) who only produce low levels of sanitary waste. Why do some companies attempt to mislead? Because sanitary bin contracts generate collections companies considerable revenue.
Here at Binny Bin, we believe that organisations should be given accurate information to make there own choices and we felt so strongly about this that we contacted the Environment Agency to clarify the situation and in November 2014 received the below reply:
Thank you for your enquiry on the responsibilities of small business in relation to municipal offensive waste. The Safe Management of Healthcare Waste (HTM 07 01, April 2013 edition) provides guidance on this subject.
- Businesses are expected to segregate municipal offensive waste items where they are generated in quantity (e.g.7kg in a collection period). This waste would be classified as 20 01 99 (offensive waste).
- In smaller quantities, municipal offensive waste items can be discarded in the ‘black bag’ (mixed municipal waste stream). As they are a normal non-hazardous constituent of domestic mixed municipal waste, their presence would not alter the classification of the similar waste from a business. It would remain 20 03 01 (black bin waste).
Businesses may choose to segregate the smaller quantities, however there is no legal requirement to do so, and therefore no offence in relation to a failure to do so. The Environment Agency is not able to comment on the sales practices of any individual company unless we were concerned that it was insufficient to comply with environmental regulatory requirements. If you are concerned that the sales activities of a company are inappropriate, you should take that up with the relevant bodies that regulate trading practices.
As a result of the example you provided, we have asked the government data service (GDS) to amend the waste classification page on gov.uk to clarify that the segregation of small quantities of municipal offensive waste by businesses is not required. This should appear on the following page at some time in the future.
I hope this is of assistance.”
On 14th October 2015 the gov.uk was amended – click here. Therefore if you only dispose of under 7kgs of sanitary waste per general waste collection, you don’t need a sanitary bin contractor and you don’t need to tell your general waste collection company.