Trade Waste

The sight of trade waste out on the street is an eyesore which no-one wants and will leave a poor image of your town centre to visitors. Waste can also carry unpleasant odours, attract vermin, and crowd pedestrians off pavements into the street. It is therefore vital to minimise both the visibility of trade waste and the amount of time it remains on-street.


Every town centre has a diverse range of businesses with different operating hours all served by a variety of waste collection providers, so coordinating these activities can be challenging. Staff turnover and rotas can add to the challenge as the correct procedure is not always passed on from one to another. This is a problem which town centre partnerships can help to address by working together to ensure that the message is widely promoted.

Some places operate a collective contract with either the Council or private company, so as many local businesses as possible agree to use one service provider and therefore reduce vehicle movements, co-ordinate collections, and save money with bulk discounts.

It is a legal requirement for every business to have a trade waste contract and to be able to provide evidence of that contract if requested by an appropriate officer from the local authority. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a ‘waste collection authority’ (the local Council) has the power to serve an enforcement notice on businesses who do not:


  • have a trade waste contract in place

  • utilise the stipulated receptacles / storage

  • store waste appropriately / ensure waste is not ‘detrimental to the area’

  • follow the steps needed to facilitate the collection of waste (i.e. leave bins in an agreed place and time)


The use of interim waste transfer site(s) has proven to be a useful solution for some areas. These organise trade waste collections from a town centre to be picked up by the relevant contractor from a single location for all their contracts, rather than visiting each one individually. This idea is particularly useful for town centres with pedestrianised areas which collection vehicles are unable to access or where the needs of day-time and night-time businesses would otherwise come into conflict. However, you need a suitable off-street service yard or similar to make this work and the willing co-operation of the businesses involved.