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What is: Waste Transfer Note

29 January 2020

What is a Waste Transfer Note?

A Waste Transfer Note (WTN) is a document used to record a transfer of waste from one party to another (you can view & download an example from our Waste Transfer Note Example blog. Transfer in this context means the transfer of responsibility rather than physical movement.

Until a few years ago, waste transfers had to be recorded using a WTN, but today the law allows you to use any document (eg. invoice or receipt) provided it contains the following information:

  • A description of the waste including relevant European Waste Catalogue code(s), its quantity and/or weight, and how it is contained or whether it is loose
  • Confirmation that the transferor has fulfilled their duty to apply the waste hierarchy outlined regulation 12 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.  This duty is essentially the need to try to reduce the amount of materials that end up being sent to landfill and waste to energy by first considering prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling and other recovery.
  • The date, time and address of the transfer;
  • The names, address and signature of the transferor (person or organisation getting rid of the waste) and the SIC code of their business
  • The name, address and signature of the transferee (person or organisation taking the waste), their role (eg. waste carrier, broker, processor) and their license number authorising them to do so;

Example Waste Transfer Note for use by a Waste Carrier

The Environment Agency (EA) provides an example waste transfer note on its website.

When is a waste transfer note required?

When a business transfers waste to another party, the transfer should be recorded by a waste transfer note. The waste transfer note details the parties and addresses where the transfer took place not where the waste ended up. So, in the typical scenario of a waste carrier collecting waste from a client’s premises and taking it to a waste transfer station run by a third party, there will be two waste transfers and two waste transfer notes. The first documents the transfer from the original producer of the waste to the waste carrier, and the second when the waste carrier delivers the waste the tip (commonly referred to as a ‘tipping receipt’ or ‘weighbridge ticket’). In this circumstance, while the producer may be interested in where the waste ends up his only legal obligation is to have a waste transfer note for the collection transfer, not the disposal transfer.

Householders don’t need waste transfer notes

There is no legal requirement for a waste transfer note when a waste carrier removes waste from a home for an occupier of that home. The precise definition of household waste is a bit unclear but has been interpreted to include all waste material that comes out of a home including builders waste provided it is the householder herself who engages a waste carrier to remove it.

No transfer = no transfer note

It might sound obvious, but if no transfer of waste occurs then no waste transfer note is required. For example, a contractor building a conservatory that takes away demolition debris from his customer’s premises does not need to create a waste transfer note because they produced the waste themselves not the customer. The only requirement for a waste transfer note is when they deliver that waste to a tip. On the other hand, if the contractor engages a waste carrier to remove the waste, then a transfer occurs onsite between the two parties and a waste transfer note is required.

Note that if the same contractor leaves the waste behind for the occupier to arrange disposal, then technically speaking there is a waste transfer at that point but in practice, the EA ignores this.

Who is responsible for producing it?

It is common practice for the party receiving the waste to produce the waste transfer note but both parties are responsible for making sure the information is accurate and both must sign the document and keep it for two years. Since photocopies of waste transfer notes are not acceptable, they are created in duplicate using carbon copies or increasingly electronically as a PDF.

What do you do with a Transfer Note?

You should put it somewhere safe.  Both parties are legally obliged to keep a WTN for a minimum of 2 years from the date of transfer.

Other useful articles & guides

Our small print
AnyJunk is not a firm of solicitors, consultant or public authority – we are a rubbish clearance company. This guidance is designed to be a pragmatic summary for the majority of users and we have not included a multitude of additional rules, caveats and exemptions that may be relevant to your specific situation. If you require more detailed information or a definitive view on the rules and regulations governing waste, we recommend seeking independent legal advice or, at the very least, contacting the Environment Agency for a proper chat. In other words, please don’t sue us; we’re only trying to help!

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