Environmental Protection Act 1990 governs issues to do with waste such as collection, management and disposal. The waste is categorized into domestic, commercial and industrial. Most local authorities are responsible for waste management in their areas.
Other than the usual residential waste that is collected on a weekly basis, there is also bulk waste that can come from domestic activities such as gardening or renovations. It is the responsibility of the local authority to routinely collect waste from residential properties and this service should not be charged since the council tax already caters for such services. The only service that the council can charge for is the special request for collection of the bulk waste.
Local authorities usually outsource their services, both routine and special collections from private contractors. When this happens, the service by the contractor is to the local authority and not the individuals and the charges made should be to the authority.
Among the things that the authority can charge for include specialized dustbins or rubbish bags that are specially marked.
Waste from Commercial Places
This is waste from all commercial premises and other non-private facilities like the hospitals, palaces and prisons. Similar to the domestic refuse, the local authority has a responsibility to make arrangements to collect the waste.
There is no routine obligation to collect such refuse but they should be in a position to collect it when called upon. The services are usually charged, except for situations which the charges are waivered. Charges for these services are covered under Section 41A of the VAT Act.
Local authorities are sometimes called upon to collect refuse that is beyond their area of operation. This is commonly referred to as ‘out of area’ collection and they are not covered by the Special Legal Regime and are therefore charged a standard fee.
This kind of waste is usually controlled, mostly because of the potential impact it has on the environment. Collection and movement of such waste is licensed by the disposal authority and the charges for these licenses are set by the Secretary of State.
There are not many authorities that are able to handle industrial waste and therefore, it is given to specialized private companies who charge a standard fee.
Waste from Clinical Institutions
The specific way in which collections are categorized will determine how VAT will be charged on clinical refuse. Under normal circumstances, it is treated as industrial waste and therefore a standard rate is charged.
However, there are situations where clinical waste it categorized as either commercial or residential waste, both of which are outside the scope of VAT.