Business receptacles (bins or trade bags)

Businesses have a legal “duty of care” and must:

  • store waste correctly
  • only give waste to authorised persons
  • keep a description of their waste and details (Waste Transfer Notes) of whom the waste was passed to, for at least two years

A legal responsibility for business bins or trade bags, businesses must have:

  • enough storage containers
  • regular collections
  • the right storage and collection methods for their waste

Businesses could be prosecuted if they:

  • store their waste, bins, or trade bags
  • present their bins or trade bags
  • have bins or trade bags emptied/collected
  • leave bins or trade bags after being emptied

in a way that creates problems or is damaging to the area.

Southend-on-Sea City Council will work with businesses and give advice on their legal responsibility, before taking enforcement action against them.

Frequently asked questions

What powers do Southend-on-Sea City Council have?

We have powers to give a business a notice, under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which can tell them:

  • to get extra bins (if needed)
  • how to present their waste for collection
  • where to leave their waste for collection
  • when they must follow rules on how collections of waste can be made
  • to remove containers as soon as collection has happened
  • to only place bags and boxes out within given times for collection
  • to remove the containers (once emptied) within given times

Do Southend-on-Sea City Council collect business waste?

We do not collect business waste.

Businesses are responsible for organising their own recycling and waste collection through private waste collection companies.

Can I ignore a letter I receive about my receptacles (bins or trade bags)?

We will usually contact businesses before taking formal enforcement action.

We would like businesses to be fully aware of their legal duty.


  • do not ignore letters
  • check you fully understand your waste storage responsibilities

What are these responsibilities?

There is a legal responsibility on the occupier of a business to make sure their waste is stored and collected correctly.

The containers used for this waste storage/collection must be:

  • presented
  • stored
  • collected
  • returned to the business

in such a way that it does not cause problems or is damaging to the area, such as:

  • waste stored incorrectly (e.g., waste escapes)
  • waste collection containers causing complaints, (e.g., the containers are left poorly after emptying or stored badly)

If this happens the business will not be meeting their legal responsibility.

When would a notice be given?

We work with businesses wherever possible, to explain and agree storage options informally, and to make sure they meet their legal responsibilities.

Where this is not possible or we get a complaint, we will check:

  • the business.
  • their receptacles
  • how their waste collection is being managed

If there are repeated problems which affects neighbours, like waste storage or collections:

  • causing an issue
  • damaging the area

then a formal notice would be given to the business.

If my business gets a notice, what would it say?

The notice, under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, may set out:

  • the number of receptacles needed and their design
  • where they can be stored
  • where they can be placed for collection
  • when they can be presented for collection
  • when they must be returned to their storage position
  • other instructions for organising the waste collection and containers

If a notice is given, it is valid:

  • for the length of time that the business occupier is at that premise
  • until a replacement notice is needed if arrangements need to change

What happens if I ignore a notice or refuse to follow it?

If the occupier of the business who is given the notice fails to follow it, they are guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to £1,000 if found guilty.

Will failure to follow the notice always end in prosecution?

No, if a business has failed to follow the notice we can, under section 47ZA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, give them a £110 Fixed Penalty for each time they do not follow the notice.

Can businesses appeal against being given a notice?

Yes, there is a 21-day period within which the person receiving the notice can appeal to the Magistrates Court against the terms.
If an appeal is made no further action can be taken until the appeal has been decided.

What happens if a business is unable to follow a notice?

If a business is unable to follow the directions in the notice, they must contact us and explain why.

We would advise businesses to follow any notice given as quickly as possible.

My business received a notice and I have taken steps to follow the requirements set out in it. What happens next?

If the business has followed the notice, thank you. Please remember the notice stays in place.

If you do not follow the rules of the notice in the future, you will be causing an offence and may still be prosecuted or get a Fixed Penalty notice.

Contact recycling and waste

Telephone: 01702 215006

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