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New waste separation regulations in Wales - what do GPs need to know?

on Friday, 10 May 2024.

From 6 April 2024 new waste separation regulations have come into force affecting occupiers of business premises, including GP practices and pharmacies, operating in Wales.

The new regulations were introduced under the Waste Separation Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2023 (the Regulations). The Regulations are intended to achieve a high quality of recycling by separating waste streams and ensuring items are emptied and cleaned if necessary.

How should you separate your waste?

The Regulations require business who present recyclable waste materials for collection to separate the materials into the below categories:

  • Glass
  • Cartons and similar, metal and plastic (not including thin plastic films which are not recyclable or compostable plastic)
  • Paper and card
  • Food waste (if at least 5kg of food waste is produced in seven consecutive days)
  • Unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment
  • Unsold textiles

Any hazardous waste should not be included within the recyclable waste.

Waste can be separated using multiple bins, bags or other refuse containers. Containers with multiple compartments or dividers can be used to separate waste streams. Waste should be presented in such a way as to allow it to remain separated once it has been collected.

Failure to comply with the Regulations is an offence and can result in fines with no upper limit.

What to consider if your premises has multiple occupiers

Many GP practices share occupancy of their premises with other businesses, for example a pharmacy. The obligation to comply with the Regulations falls on the occupier of the premises.

If you are a tenant of premises, you will still be responsible for ensuring you comply with the Regulations. This will often be reinforced by an obligation on tenants in their lease to comply with relevant laws and obligations.

A single waste contract may be in place for waste collection. Where there is communal waste collection, each business occupier remains responsible for ensuring compliance with the Regulations. As a landlord you may wish to ensure clear signage is erected throughout the premises to encourage compliance with the Regulations.

If you are a landlord or tenant and are uncertain of who is responsible for waste collection at your premises it is important to seek legal advice to ensure you are complying with Regulations.

If you have any queries regarding the above or would like assistance reviewing your lease in the context of the Regulations, please contact Natasha Skinner in our Healthcare team on 07340623197, or complete the form below.

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