Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

New waste duties for buisnesses in Northern Ireland

New waste duties for businesses in Northern Ireland

The European Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC requires member states to take steps to develop "recycling societies". This will involve a shift in the way waste is viewed; from being a problem to being a valued resource. This resource centred approach can be summarised in the five steps of the waste hierarchy.

What you must do

In addition to the requirements covered in the other sections of this guideline, businesses in Northern Ireland must:

  • take all reasonable steps to apply the waste hierarchy to the management of waste
  • present glass, metal, plastic, paper, and card (including cardboard) for separate collection
  • take steps to maintain the quality of these dry recyclables presented for recycling, such as avoiding contamination by non target materials.

You may be able to present co-mingled materials so long as the collection, and then the management of the materials, is designed to produce high quality recycling.

NIEA: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

NIEA: Regulatory Position Statement – Separate Collection of Dry Recyclables

The NIEA has produced a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

NIEA: Duty of Care - a short guide

Food businesses

A food business is any business that carries out activities related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food. This includes:

  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Shopping and food courts
  • Canteens
  • Hotels
  • Pubs that serve food
  • Shops that serve food
  • Supermarkets
  • Schools and colleges
  • Prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.

If you are a food business and you produce more than 5kg of food waste per week (approximately 1 kitchen caddy full) then you must be prepared to present food waste for separate collection:

NIEA: Food waste – Are you compliant?

Exempt businesses

Your businesses are exempt from the regulations if:

  • You produce less than 5kg of food waste per week
  • You deal with catering waste that has arisen from international transport. International is a Category 1 Animal By-product and therefore requires specialist management.

(5kg is roughly equivalent to a full domestic kitchen caddy)

There is a prohibition on the landfilling of separately collected food waste from 1 April 2015. The regulations also introduce a duty on businesses to ensure food waste is not deposited in a lateral drain or sewer from 1 April 2017.

Further Information

NIEA: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

NIEA: Food waste – Are you compliant?

Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.



  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Guidance from your environmental regulator

    Regulator logos

  • 9 NEW GPPs (Guidance for Pollution Prevention) available now

    The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics

  • New guidance

    New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects


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