Environment Agency confirm sanitary bin guidance

Here at Binny, we believe that organisations should be given accurate information to make there own choices regarding whether to use sanitary bins and we have been become increasingly alarmed at the sales tactics used by certain sanitary bin companies to ensure organisations sign up for sanitary bin contracts. Therefore, we contacted the Environment Agency and ask them to clarify the laws around sanitary bins and they provided the below in an email (Nov 2014):

In November 2014 received the below reply from the Environment Agency:

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.

In summary:

  • 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.”