The English, Scottish and Welsh governments have records of all those registered to legally partake in waste collection/disposal and urge those wishing to dispose of waste to check their collectors registration status online before doing so.

Those partaking in waste collection, waste broking or waste dealing in the UK must register their business.

The UK government has warned that those who do not register can be subjected to an “unlimited fine”.

The UK government’s website features a search engine that allows those living in England or Wales to find out if their local council collects recycling, and also provides advice on how to recycle household waste such as mobile phones, computers, packaging and green waste.

It also features the waste duty of care: code of practice which applies to those that produce, carry, keep, dispose of, treat, import or have control of waste in England or Wales.

Waste carriers and brokers based in England should be registered with the Environment Agency, and those in Wales should be registered with Natural Resources Wales.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency warned: “The law requires anyone dealing with waste to keep it safe, make sure it’s dealt with responsibly and only given to businesses authorised to take it.

“If you’re authorised or registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland but you store, transport or transfer waste in England or Wales, you should also take account of this code.”

The code emphasises that it is illegal to deposit controlled waste except under and in accordance with an environmental permit or a registered waste exemption.

It is also illegal to treat, keep or disclose of controlled waste in a wat that is likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm human health.

Unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal includes:

  • Operating illegal waste sites without the correct permit or appropriate exemption to accept or manage a particular waste;
  • Misclassification of waste as a non-waste or a waste that does not fit the written description;
  • Fly-tipping is the deliberate unlawful dumping of waste e.g. at the roadside or on privately owned land – the scale can vary from a single bin bag of waste to large quantities of waste dumped from trucks.

The government urges those who suspect someone of fly-tipping, illegally depositing, treating or disposing of waste to not give their waste to them or take waste from them.


In Scotland, if you transport waste, or arrange the transport of waste for others, it’s likely that you will need to register with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as a waste carrier, broker, or professional collector and transporter of waste.

The public can check if someone is a registered waste carrier by visiting SEPA’s website and searching for their registration record.

The Scottish government labelled illegal waste disposal and fly-tipping as a “serious offence with significant consequences”, and warned that those who are caught risk a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £40,000 and/or imprisonment.

Jennifer Shearer, head of enforcement at SEPA, said:  “For us deterring waste crime will take more than issuing fines and taking prosecutions where possible.

“It requires Scotland to realise the potential in developing vacant and derelict land for better use, engage in multi-agency partnerships and nurture urban and rural communities. 

“In Scotland, businesses committed to doing the right thing by our environment will find a regulator that supports innovation and excellence.

“For those who do the wrong thing, they’ll find a regulator that won’t hesitate to act.

“It is vital that businesses and individuals realise their duty of care, as the best way to stop waste criminals is to cut off their routes to make money.

“Criminals are resourceful, inventive and will find new ways to break the law – especially when money is involved, but Scotland’s enforcement agencies are working together to make sure we find them and stop them.”

Northern Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has similar regulations in relation to waste collection and disposal.

Those who transport controlled waste, or waste brokers, must be registered with the department; if not, persons can be fined up to £5,000.

DAERA’s website features a waste management license search engine for people to ensure that their waste collector is registered.

The public can use their collectors waste licence number, post code or company name to search for the registration and confirm their legitimacy.