Businesses have a legal responsibility for the storage, collection and disposal of waste.

This is not included in your business rates - waste collection must be paid for separately.

Sunderland City Council can provide a competitive commercial waste collection service, and free advice, to any business in the city, which ensures you meet all your legal obligations and are provided with the necessary documents. For a no obligation quote, please contact us.

How to dispose of your waste

Businesses can use the council's commercial waste service, or a private contractor authorised to carry waste.

You cannot take your waste to the city's household waste and recycling centre or recycling sites. These sites are for household waste only and it is illegal to take your commercial waste to these sites. Failure to abide by these rules could result in prosecution.

Your legal responsibilities as a business

All businesses have a statutory duty to ensure that waste is managed and disposed of legally.

Waste must be stored safely and securely in suitable containers in places that will prevent unauthorised access and to prevent it from spilling or escaping from your control.

Waste must be transferred to a person who is authorised to take it (a registered carrier or a licensed waste disposal operator). You can check if someone is registered by contacting the Environment Agency or asking the company to show their waste carrier's certificate. If they cannot prove they are a registered waste carrier and you allow your waste to be carried by them, you may be breaking the law.

You must have a 'Duty of Care Waste Transfer Note' jointly signed by your business and the carrier, to prove who has taken your waste. You must keep this document for a minimum of two years. You must keep copies of your Waste Transfer Notes for two years, and produce copies to the Environment Agency or your local council on demand.

Breach of the duty of care is an offence, with a penalty of an unlimited fine if convicted on indictment.

For other waste, such as fluorescent tubes, electrical equipment, animal by-products, asbestos or oil based paints, please refer to Hazardous waste collection.


If your business does not have sufficient waste storage resulting in spillage of commercial waste you could receive a fine or face other enforcement action. For more information on your duty of care contact the Environment Agency.

For an additional trade waste bin, please contact us.