Why you should check for a Waste Carriers Licence

Most people know that it’s important to only use skip hire or waste management firms that have all of the relevant documentation to prove they are carrying your waste legally.

Resources | 8min read

Most of us wouldn’t be best pleased with a company fly-tipping on our behalf, but other than a guilty conscience, there are genuine legal implications for you if your waste is found somewhere it shouldn’t be.

The most important document to look out for to ensure that a waste management firm is regulated and operating legally is a waste carriers licence.

What is a waste carriers licence?

A waste carriers licence indicates that a business or an individual is registered to legally carry and transport waste. It’s a document that’s granted by the Environment Agency and is the bare minimum a company needs to legally make money from waste collection.

Why is it important to check for a waste carriers licence?

Whether you run a business or are a homeowner, you’re ultimately responsible for where your waste ends up. That’s why you must ensure that whoever is collecting the waste is a registered waste carrier. Without this certification, your rubbish could end up being illegally dumped or left at an unauthorised site. If the rubbish is traced back to you or your business, you could face fines that potentially run into the thousands.

It’s not just skip hire companies or waste management specialists that need to be registered waste carriers. Any business that carries waste professionally must also become licensed. That includes those that carry waste as part of their day-to-day trading, such as gardeners, carpenters, glaziers, plumbers and electricians.

How to check for a waste carriers licence

Any reputable waste management company will be more than happy to provide evidence of their waste carriers licence. Alternatively, you can easily do some online research yourself if you have any doubts. Simply search for the business name here or contact the Environment Agency on 0330 660 0832 and ask for a waste carrier validation check.

How to spot a fake waste carriers licence

The Environment Agency has produced widgets that registered waste carriers can use on their websites to reassure customers and display their licence details. Although these are perfectly legitimate and show real-time information that’s pulled directly from the Environment Agency, they can also be copied and amended with fake details.

While they might look identical, there is a simple way to spot the difference between a real-time Environment Agency widget and a fake.


Hover over the ‘Registration Number’ and ‘Company Number’ information that’s in blue with your cursor. On a legitimate licence, these are hyperlinks that you can click to go straight through to the Environment Agency’s website. There you can then cross-reference the waste carrier’s information.


On a fake widget, the ‘Registration Number’ and ‘Company Number’ details in blue are not hyperlinks and will not take you through to the Environment Agency’s website.

Other ways to check that you’re dealing with a licensed carrier

There are also several other steps you can take to ensure that your commercial waste is being collected and transported by a registered waste carrier.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

You have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent your waste from being dumped illegally, so be prepared to ask a few questions. Any legitimate waste carrier will be happy to tell you where the waste is going and how it will be disposed of. When collecting the waste, the waste carrier will provide you with a waste transfer note. That will include the waste carrier’s details as well as information about the disposal site and its waste management licence.

Never accept unsolicited offers

If someone knocks on the door of your business or makes an unsolicited call offering to remove your waste, always decline the offer. That is a telltale sign of an unlicensed waste carrier.

Never pay cash

Registered waste carriers will be happy to take card payments and should provide you with a professional invoice and receipt.

Expect to pay a reasonable fee

Registered waste carriers must pay to dispose of your waste properly. Those are costs that will be reflected in your quote. An unexpectedly low quote should be treated with suspicion.

Record the registration number of the waste carrier’s vehicles

Having this information will make it easier for investigators to track down the culprits if waste that has been dumped illegally is traced back to you.

Additional guidance for businesses

When it comes to business waste, you have a legal duty to make sure everything is done properly regarding its storage and disposal. There are several steps that you must take, including:

  • Reducing waste as much as possible by doing everything you reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover it.
  • Sorting and ensuring the safe and secure storage of waste before it’s collected.
  • Completing a waste transfer note for every load of waste that leaves your premises.
  • Checking that your waste carrier is registered by asking for details of its waste carriers licence.
  • Not allowing your waste carrier to dispose of your waste illegally and reporting them to Crimestoppers if they do.

You also have additional responsibilities if your business produces hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is generally considered to be any material or substance that is harmful to humans or the environment. That includes asbestos, batteries, solvents, pesticides and more. Take a look at the government guidelines if you’re unsure whether the waste your business produces is classified as hazardous.

If your business produces hazardous waste, you must also:

  • Register as a hazardous waste producer
  • Classify your waste before it’s sent for disposal
  • Separate and store it safely
  • Fill in the parts of the consignment note that apply to you – keep one copy and give two to the carrier collecting your waste
  • Keep records of consignment notes, consignee returns and any other related documents for three years at the premises that produced or stored the waste.

As a registered waste carrier, you can trust AMA Waste to collect and transport your waste responsibly, diligently and within regulations. It will be transported to sites that carry a waste management licence where it will be recycled or disposed of properly. Please get in touch today to discuss your waste requirements with our team.

*Please note that all advice contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not recommended as a comprehensive guide to your legal responsibilities as a waste producer. Please consult with the Environment Agency or your local council body in the first instance for up-to-date guidance.