Managing waste during COVID-19

SEPA is committed to supporting everyone it regulates during the COVID-19 public health emergency, while maintaining protection of Scotland’s environment. We recognise there may be disruption to waste management services during this time.

During these challenging times, all businesses need to continue to do their best to meet their environmental obligations.

If your business produces, transports, stores or deals with waste, you still have a legal responsibility – a Duty of Care - to make sure it’s recycled or managed properly. If you produce, transport or store waste you have a legal responsibility to make sure it’s recycled or managed properly. Your responsibility doesn’t stop when you contract another supplier in the supply chain, you remain responsible.

We are working with Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and local authorities other key partners to support the sector and help waste managers to stay compliant and protect the environment. Read more in our media release and visit the dedicated information hub.

COVID-19 support and guidance

In recognition that many businesses are currently experiencing extraordinary pressures that have a significant impact on their commercial operations, support and advice is available.

View the information leaflet for waste producersView the temporary regulatory position statement for waste managementView the information leaflet for waste managers

For help to manage the impact of coronavirus on your business visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.scotFor a guide to your Duty of Care for waste visit NetRegs.org.ukFor the latest coronavirus guidance visit the Public Health Scotland website

If you need help to comply with licences contact nationalwaste@sepa.org.ukFor advice on household waste visit managingourwaste.scotContact intelligence@sepa.org.uk to report suspicious waste collection or disposal activity

Visit www.gov.scot to see support available for the waste and recycling sector

Household waste recycling centres

Household waste recycling centres help to manage the safe disposal of unwanted items. We are supporting local authorities and their contractors to reopen recycling centres and establish temporary collection points for household waste.

Link to position statement for temporary waste collection pointsView the temporary regulatory position statement for reopening household waste recycling centres

Special waste consignment notes

During the response, it remains important to maintain secure hazardous waste management. This includes the requirement for a form of SWCN to accompany every movement. Unfortunately, SEPA remains unable to sell pre-coded paper notes due to the reduced use of SEPA offices. This temporary regulatory position provides a number of options for operators to use in the interim.

View temporaru regulatory position statement for special waste consignment notesView temporary carrier schedule for special waste consignment notesView temporary special waste consignment note 2020-2021

Waste management regulatory guidance

We expect regulated businesses to make their best endeavours to meet environmental obligations. We are helping regulated businesses to adjust and adapt, recognising that resources and capacities are severely constrained.

We need to understand how COVID-19 is affecting the waste industry so it is important that you contact SEPA as soon as possible if you have any emerging compliance challenges.

We expect operators to be preparing themselves as far as practical for the challenges of the COVID-19 public health emergency to ensure impacts on the environment are minimised. However, we recognise that there may be disruption to waste management services during this time and it may mean it is not possible for operators to comply fully with their environmental obligations for reasons beyond their control.

Our temporary regulatory guidance describes how the industry, including SEPA, will have to adapt and the impact that new rules on social distancing will have on certain processes, such as the issuing of waste transfer notes and special waste consignment notes. All waste producers and managers must still comply with their Duty of Care obligations.

Managing waste during COVID-19

Contact information

If you have concerns or are unable to comply with your licence or permit and Scotland’s environmental laws regarding waste management, please contact SEPA as soon as possible by emailing nationalwaste@sepa.org.uk.

If you need to submit deposit notes or TFS paperwork, please use the routes outlined below:

  • hazardous waste and special waste consignment notes (SWCN) - submit your deposit notes to nationalwaste@sepa.org.uk;
  • Green List waste - submit Annex VII forms to Transfrontier@sepa.org.uk or upload shipments on to National Packaging Waste Database;
  • Amber List waste (notification controls) - submit all new TFS applications, supporting documents and financial guarantees to Transfrontier@sepa.org.uk.

In the event that shipments of waste can't proceed as intended due to the impact of COVID-19 (e.g. recovery facility closed, border/road closure), please send details immediately to Transfrontier@sepa.org.uk

We will also accept signed and scanned movement forms (Annex 1Bs) at the same email address but would encourage notifiers to use the International Waste Shipment portal

If you become aware of any suspicious activity around waste collections or the disposal of waste, you can report your concerns at intelligence@sepa.org.uk.