Waste Management

When something is thrown away, we lose the natural resource, energy and the time which have been used to make the product and the golf club is effectively throwing money away too. It makes sense to manage waste more effectively to save money, energy and resources.  In addition, some form of waste reduction or pre-treatment is required by law under the Landfill Directive. 

This Waste Management Resource Section examines the cost of waste and how this can be reduced by considering the waste hierarchy, which outlines four main ways of managing waste: Reduce; Re-use; Recycle and Dispose.


1. How big is your COW?

One of the most important steps in initiating a waste management programme is to work out your true ‘Cost Of Waste’ (COW).  This includes the cost of purchasing products and materials which are then needlessly wasted as well as the cost of waste disposal.  This is best achieved by conducting a waste audit to record the type of products and materials purchased by the golf club and the types and amounts of waste produced. 


 2. The waste hierarchy

The waste hierarchy ranks waste management options based on environmental effects and provides a checklist of options to follow when considering how to manage each waste stream.  Options at the top of the hierarchy should be pursued first, while options at the bottom of the hierarchy should be utilised as a last resort, once all attempts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste have been exhausted.


2.3 Recycling

Recycling involves the processing of waste to form new products and materials.  Recycling is helpful in that it is less environmentally damaging and less energy intensive than harvesting raw materials and processing the raw materials for the first time.  Recycling is to be encouraged but is still third in the waste hierarchy behind reduction and reuse. 

  • Consult your waste audit and identify any materials that could easily be recycled and work out the cost or recycling materials compared to disposal to landfill.  Bear in mind that landfill tax increases incrementally each year and that disposal costs will increase year on year meaning recycling may become more viable over time.
  • Ensure that materials are recycled in all areas of the golf course business, including the clubhouse, golf course and maintenance facility.
  • Make collection of materials easier by providing separate or segregated bins in the clubhouse and on the golf course and store waste separately to prevent contamination. 
  • Ensure that there are enough bins to encourage recycling.
  • Consider becoming a community recycling centre. 
  • Recycling can only work if there is a recycling loop, i.e. if there is a demand for recycled goods.  Golf clubs must consider purchasing recycled goods, not just recycling their own waste
  • The Waste Resources Action Programme www.wrap.org.uk provides specialist advice on options for managing waste and purchasing recycled products.

2.4 Recycling organic waste

Everyday maintenance operations on the golf course generate organic waste such as grass clippings from fine turf areas, arisings from rough grassland management, vegetation removed from water features, deadwood from woodland management and leaf litter from woodland management and soil collected after hollow tining and aeration operations.  Each element of organic waste is a potential resource that could be combined to create fantastic compost or processed in an anaerobic digester to provide energy for heating.

2.4.1 Composting

Compost can be used on the golf course as topdressing material or used to improve soil in the clubhouse garden.  If there is an excess of material the club could try to sell the compost to members or to the public.

To produce good compost both ‘green’ nitrogen rich elements (e.g. grass clippings, plant cuttings and vegetable scraps) and ‘brown’ carbon rich elements (e.g. leaves, waste paper and tree prunings) are needed. 

2.4.2 Grass clippings and arisings from rough grassland management

Grass clipping can be problematic as they are produced in large quantities every day and on their own make very poor compost.

If grass clipping are disposed off in rough grassland they will decompose…. As well as being unsightly and smelly they will act to fertilise the soil and encourage coarse grasses.  In any case it is illegal to dispose of grass clippings in this way.

Grass clippings on fairways can be ‘let fly’ and dispersed across the fairway where they can easily be broken down and incorporated as organic matter into the soil.  Dispersed grass clippings are different from large piles of grass as the nutrient content is dispersed over a wide area and can easily be incorporated into the soil by soil organisms with no negative environmental effects.  However, dispersing clippings in this way has been shown to encourage worms and worm casting that can be problematic.

More usually, grass clippings should be ‘boxed off’ during mowing and then temporarily stored in bays around the golf course before periodic collection and transfer to the maintenance compound(s) for composting. The length of time clippings can be stored in the exposed bays is weather dependent, but clippings will not be left within the temporary bays for more than two weeks. 

Storage bays need only be simply constructed, requiring three sides of wood to a height of around 1 m and a hard standing base of either poured concrete or cemented concrete slabs.  This hard standing prevents nutrients and chemical residues from being washed through the clippings and into the soil and groundwater.

When collected from the course, the greens clippings can be composted using either a windrow system or a more conventional system of designated composting bays.

2.4.3 Windrow composting

Windrow composting systems form long, low mound of composted material, which is wider at the bottom than at the top.  New organic material is added to one end of the mound and older, composted, material is removed from the opposite end.  Windrows are very easy to construct and turn and can be added to continuously over time. They can be unsightly, however, and may need to be windrow screened to minimise visual impact. 

  • Construction of a windrow should begin with a heap of organic material piled to amaximum height of 1.5 m.  If the heap becomes much taller than this, then the weight of the material will force air out and the process will become anaerobic.  The heap can be extended lengthways to accommodate new material.  Multiple rows can be constructed in parallel to save space.
  • When still small in size, the windrow should be covered with tarpaulin or a similar waterproof covering but as more materials are added then decomposition activity within the windrow should generate sufficient heat to evaporate excess moisture from the surface. 
  • Care must be taken when lifting waterproof covers on compost material as fungal spores can accumulate on the underside of the cover and are potentially hazardous if ingested or inhaled.  A hosepipe should be used to dampen the heap whilst removing the waterproof cover to reduce the risk of spore inhalation.
  • To ensure sufficient aeration is achieved, straw or rough grassland arisings, woody material and/or waste soil cores from aeration must be continuously added alongside any fine grass clippings. 
  • Smaller windrows are not advisable as they quickly lose heat, are unlikely to heat through to the centre and will probably become waterlogged unless covered. 
  • Ideally, the windrow should be turned at least once during any one year so as to ensure that the outer soils spend sufficient time within the warm, moist centre of the heap.
  • The windrow will diminishes in size as it composts and rows can be combined to ensure there is enough space for new material.
2.4.4 Conventional compost bays

A more conventional composting system involves the provision of a hard standing on which to place the compost with space for a set of three compost bays. 

The hard standing should have three upright sides and a roof of sufficient height to allow the compost to be turned by machinery.  The compost piles can be turned from one bay to another to aid aeration and encourage the breakdown of the organic matter. The first compost pile should be added to for one year and turned after this period into the adjacent bay.  The provision of three bays, will allow for compost to be created over two years and stored and used or disposed of off-site in the third year. 

The compost piles will be constructed upon a base layer of soil 8 - 10 cm thick, which will help absorb leachate produced by the compost.  The leachate from the compost will be further controlled by the roof, which prevents rainwater washing through the compost.  Any leachate that does run from the compost will be channelled and collected and returned to the compost piles to keep the compost moist and retain the nutrients within the compost.

Grass clippings alone make very poor compost and incorporating other materials will add structure and will aid air movement through the compost.  The compost can then be built up in alternating layers 25 cm in depth above the soil base, including alternating layers of grass clippings and woody material, cardboard and paper or soil cores from aeration of the playing surfaces. 

2.5 Waste disposal

Disposal is the fourth and final option in the waste hierarchy and should only be considered once all means of reducing, reusing and recycling waste have been exhausted. Waste must be disposed of safely and within the law. 

In the UK, waste may be burned for energy recovery, burned with no energy recovery or landfilled.  Golf clubs should try to find out how their waste contractor disposes of their waste and, if possible, choose incineration with energy recovery as at least the imbedded energy in the waste materials can be utilised for a useful purpose

3. Waste legislation

The storage and disposal of waste is controlled by law to ensure that waste to minimise risks to human health and the environment.  This section lists legislation relevant to waste storage, tranfers and disposal at golf clubs.  This list of waste legislation should be considered comprehensive but not exhaustive.  All legislation information is correct as of January 2011.  Legislation changes regularly and golf clubs should check the news section of the greener golf website for information on important changes.

3.1 The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides the main statutory framework for waste management in the UK.

The act defines ‘waste’, outlines a system for waste management licensing and establishes a statutory ‘duty of care’ to ensure that waste is handled safely and within the law with no damage or harm caused to the environment or to human health.  This duty of care is detailed in the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991.

3.1.1 What are our golf club’s responsibilities under the ‘duty of care’?

As producers of controlled waste (all waste generated from a non-domestic source), golf courses must abide by this duty of care.

Waste produces on the golf club premises must be stored safely and securely within suitably labelled containers and incompatible materials must be stored separately to prevent contamination.  Waste must not be allowed to blow away or leach into the ground.

The duty of care also continues throughout the entire waste management supply chain and the golf club’s responsibility does not end when waste leaves the club premises.  Golf clubs must check that the waste contractor they use is authorised to transport and dispose of their waste.   Golf clubs must also check with their waste carrier where the waste is being taken and make sure the destination site can legally receive their waste.

A list of approved waste contractors for England is available on the Environment Agency Website.

Finally, under the duty of care, each transfer of waste from the golf course must be accompanied by a Waste Transfer Note (WTN).

3.1.2 What are Waste Transfer Notes (WTN)?

Waste Transfer Notes provide information that allows waste to be handled safely and provide a paper trail that proves that the golf club has complied with their duty of care.

A Waste Transfer Note must accompany each transfer of waste from the golf course to a waste contractor.  Typically, a Waste Transfer Note will include:

  • A description of the type and quantity of waste, including the appropriate six-digit European Waste Code for each waste type (codes for all types of waste are listed in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC))
  • A description of any waste containers
  • The time, date and place the waste was transferred
  • The names and addresses of the golf club and the waste contractor
  • A record of the certificate number of the registration held by waste contractor

The golf club can obtain 12 month ‘season tickets’ which can be used to cover repeat transfers of waste, but only if the same type of waste is being transferred to the same carrier.

Waste Transfer Notes must be signed by both the golf club and the waste contractor and the golf club must keep a copy of all Waste Transfer Notes for a minimum of 2 years after the date of transfer. 

Transfers of hazardous waste should be accompanied by a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note (HWCN) see the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005.

Compliance with the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations:

  • Store waste safely and securely and segregate incompatible materials
  • Check that your waste contractor is authorised to transport and dispose of your waste
  • Ensure that the site receiving your waste is authorised to take your waste
  • Fill out a Waste Transfer Note for each transfer of waste to a waste contractor
  • Keep copies of Waste Transfer Notes for at least 2 years

Failure to comply with the duty of care set out in the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 could result in an unlimited fine.

3.2 The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006 (as amended)

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006 transpose the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive 2003 into UK law and aim toensure that all redundant and broken Electrical and Electronic Equipment is separately collected and recycled.

As a user of Electrical and Electronic Equipment golf clubs must ensure that all their Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is recycled.

3.2.1 What is WEEE?

In general, under the Regulations, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment includes all waste equipment that uses electricity and includes items you might consider as ‘domestic’ or ‘household’ that are used on business premises.  In the golf club context this may include:

  • ‘Household’ appliances, such as dishwashers, ovens, washing machines, toasters, kettles, electric fans, etc.
  • IT and telecommunications equipment, including personal computers, laptops, electronic calculators, facsimile machines and telephones
  • Consumer equipment, such as radios, televisions and video recorders
  • Lighting equipment, including compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Electrical and electronic tools, such as drills and electric lawnmowers and strimmers
  • Monitoring and control equipment, including smoke detectors and thermostatic heating controls
  • Automatic dispensors of hot drinks, cold drinks or snacks, etc.

Note that filament lightbulbs are not covered by the WEEE Regulations and may be disposed of in general waste.  Energy saving lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes are also considered hazardous waste (see Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005).

A full list of equipment covered is provided in Schedule 2 of the Regulation.

3.2.2 How can WEEE be recycled?

WEEE products require specialist recycling and must be collected by an approved contractor.  Whether the golf club must pay for the recycling of WEEE depends on when each specific item was produced:

  • Products produced after 13 August 2005 are called ‘future WEEE’and can be returned to the product manufacturer free of charge.  Rental and lease equipment can be returned free of charge to your equipment supplier for disposal.
  • Products produced before 13 August 2005 are called ‘historic WEEE’ and can only be recycled free of charge if the equipment is being replaced by an equivalent new item.  In this case, the WEEE can be returned free of charge to the manufacturer of your new equipment.
  • If the golf club is not replacing an historic WEEE product with a similar item then the club must pay for recycling of the waste product.  EEE Suppliers and retailers can dispose of business WEEE for you, but they may charge you for this service.

Golf clubs can save money on the disposal costs of historic WEEE by donating or selling working EEE to be reused by a charity or other business.

3.2.3 How can we tell if the WEEE is future or historic?

Future WEEE can be recognised by checking the product identification label attached to the product.  Future WEEE will have a solid line or bar underneath a crossed out wheeled bin symbol.  Historic WEE does not carry this bar symbol.

Compliance the with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations:

  • All Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) must be segregated and recyled and must not be disposed of as general waste
  • Check whether equipment was produced before or after 13 August 2005 and arrange for recycling by the appropriate producer
  • Ensure tha the company who collects your waste equipment is a registered waste carrier and make sure that your waste is accompanied by a Waste Transfer Note (WTN) or hazardous waste consignment note (HWCN) as appropriate.  Keep copies of all WTNS and HWCNs.
  • If you are buying electrical products from a distributor make sure that you obtain the producer registration number for the equipment so that you can easily contact the producer to arrange disposal at the end of the product life.
  • If the producers of your EEE refuses to take responsibility for your waste, contact the Environment Agency

3.3 Hazardous Waste Regulations (England and Wales) 2005 (as amended)

The Hazardous Waste Regulations (England and Wales) 2005 aim to control and record the movement of hazardous waste from production through to safe disposal and ensures segregation of different types of hazardous waste.

3.3.1 What is hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste describes waste that has the potential to harm human health or the environment, i.e. may be explosive, flammable, corrosive, carcinogenic, ecotoxic, etc.

In the golf club context this obviously includes waste fertiliser and pesticide containers, waste oils and filters and waste chemicals from the maintenance facility but also includes waste from the clubhouse such as aerosols, toner and ink cartridges, energy saving lightbulbs and computer monitors.

To check which elements of your golf clubs waste are hazardous have a look at the European Waste Catalogue (EWC).

3.3.2 Storing hazardous waste

All hazardous waste must be stored safely and securely.  Different categories of hazardous waste should not be mixed and liquid hazardous waste be stored in a dedicated bunded area.  Golf clb staff should be trained in how to safely deal with spills of hazardous waste.

Golf courses do not need an environmental permit if hazardous waste is stored on site for less than 12 months.  In England and Wales there is no limit on the amount of hazardous waste that can be stored as long as it was produced on site by the golf club.

3.3.3 Registering with the Environment Agency

Golf clubs which expect to produce more than 500 kg of hazardous waste in any 12 month period must register their premises with the Environment Agency.  Registrations are valid for 12 months and can be completed online for a fee of £18 or by phone or by post at a higher cost. 

Golf club premises are exempt from registration if they:

  • Produce less than 500kg of hazardous waste in any 12-month period
  • Use a authorised carrier to remove hazardous waste

Exempt golf clubs do not need to notify the Environment Agency of their exemption but they must still use a consignment note to accompany any transfers of hazardous waste.

3.3.4 Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes

Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes record the movement of hazardous waste from the golf club for safe disposal.  Each transfer of hazardous waste which leaves the golf club must be accompanied by a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note which provides a description of the hazardous waste.  Completed consignment notes must be signed by the golf club and a copy must be kept for a minimum of three years.

There are two types of consignment note:

Standard procedureconsignment notes cover a single movement of hazardous waste from the golf club to one individual consignee for recovery, treatment, recycling or disposal. 

A multiple collection consignment note covers the collection of the same type of waste from several producers by the same waste contractor, e.g. the collection of hazardous waste from a series of neighbouring golf clubs.

A consignment note template can be downloaded from the Environment Agency website or purchased in hard copy.  Many waste contractors will provide their own consignment note template.

Within four months of the hazardous waste transfer the golf club should receive documentation from the disposal site (known as the ‘Consignees Return to a Producer or Holder’) to acknowledge receipt of the waste.  This should detail how the waste was dealt with.

Golf clubs should match return documentation to the relevant consignment note and ideally retain the documentation.  If you not receive return documentation then ask for it.

Compliance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations:

  • Check whether your waste is hazardous using the European Waste Catalogue or specific product safety data sheets or contact the Environment Agency for guidance
  • Store hazardous waste safely and securely and for no longer than 12 months
  • Register with the Environment Agency if you produce over 500 kg in any 12 month period
  • Ensure hazardous waste is collected by an authorised carrier
  • Check whether the facility that accepts your waste holds a relevant environmental permit
  • Fill in a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note to accompany each transfer of hazardous waste
  • Keep copies of each consignment note for three years
  • Retain documentation.

3.4 The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010transpose the European Landfill Directive (99/31/EC) into English law.  These Regulations aim to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill and to encourage alternative forms of waste management.  To achieve this, the Regulations limit the types of waste that can be legally landfilled and impose a landfill tax on each tonne of waste that is sent to landfill. 

Types of waste currently banned from landfill include:

  • Liquid waste;
  • Used tyres;
  • Batteries;
  • Waste materials which can become explosive, oxidising, corrosive, flammable or highly flammable when landfilled;

In addition, all non-hazardous waste must be pre-treated before being accepted at a landfill site.  Pre-treatments must reduce the quantity of the waste or must aid its recovery, thus, sorting of recyclables from waste and composting included as a pre-treatment, while compaction is not considered a pre-treatment as the mass of the waste materials remains the same.

Landfill tax in England is set at £48 per tonne for active waste (biodegradeable materials) and £2.50 per tonne for inactive waste (e.g. rock, soil, ceramics and concrete) until April 2011.  The rate for biodegradable waste increases incrementally each year (currently at a rate of £8 per annum until 2013) and will reach £80 per tonne by April 2014.  New qualifying criteria for inactive waste are expected in 2011.

Landfill tax has important implications for materials segregation on the golf course as different wastes are taxed at different rates, e.g. inactive waste which has not been segregated and has been included in the same load as active waste will be taxed at the higher rate of active waste, increasing disposal costs.

Compliance with the Environmental Permitting Regulations:

  • Do not dispose of banned waste to landfill
  • Ensure that non-hazardous waste undergoes some form of pre-treatment, either within the golf club premises setting or to be undertaken by appropriate outside contractors
  • Comply with the duty of care set out in the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991.

The Environmental Permitting Regulations also cover the disposal of waste water and compliance with these aspects of the Regulations is covered separately in the Water Resource Section of this website.

3.5 Waste Batteries and Accumulator Regulations 2009

TheWaste Batteries and Accumulator Regulations 2009implement the EU Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC.  The regulations ban the disposal of waste batteries to landfill or by incineration meaning that all batteries should be recycled.

3.5.1 Recycling portable batteries

Portable batteries are simply batteries that are light enough to carry and include batteries used in mobile phones, cordless power tools, laptops, etc.

These are likely to be used in portable equipment in the maintenance facility and in the clubhouse.  Portable batteries can be recycled in three main ways:

  • Most battery suppliers will operate a take back scheme for portable batteries
  • Local councils will have collection points for waste batteries at recycling sites
  • Members of the public can return waste batteries to most shops that sells portable batteries
3.5.2 Recycling automotive batteries

Automotive batteries are batteries used for ignition power in vehicles.  Waste automotive batteries should be returned to the garages or businesses that sell automotive batteries when replacing used batteries.

3.5.3 Recycling industrial batteries

Industrial batteries are batteries are non-automotive, non-portable batteries designed for specific professional or industrial purposes, e.g. to provide an emergency energy supply, or used to power machinery such as golf carts.

Industrial battery consumers must return waste batteries to manufacturers following the indicative hierarchy below:

  • Return batteries to the producer when buying new batteries. 
  • If batteries are not to be replaced, then waste batteries can be returned to the original producer.  
  • If the original producer cannot accept the waste batteries then batteries can be returned to a producer who currently supplies batteries of the same chemistry, or has recently placed a similar type of battery on the market.
  • If you are unable to contact a producer of batteries of the same chemistry then you can return your waste batteries to any producer of industrial batteries.