Many small firms may find themselves faced with more cost and red tape as new regulations brand them hazardous waste creators almost overnight, according to Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Hazardous Waste Directive becomes law this month and is aimed at streamlining procedures and improving management by increasing the cost of disposal to encourage businesses to reduce the amount produced.
But, with computer monitors and fluorescent lighting now considered to be hazardous material, few firms will be left unaffected.
The aims of the legislation are broadly welcomed by the Chamber but it fears many companies are unprepared for its impact.
Charlotte Ritchie, Chamber policy executive, said: "The regulations crucially shift the responsibility for disposal from waste managers to waste producers. Companies will be required to identify, segregate and register hazardous waste and have an understanding of the treatment and disposal process.
"About 200 additional wastes, including common items such as computer monitors, ink cartridges and fluorescent tubes, will be designated as hazardous which will mean that almost every business will now be a producer of hazardous waste.
Businesses not previously subjected to waste regulation will need to change the way they dispose of their waste and may need to register with the Environment Agency in order to comply with the regulations if they produce more than 200kg per year.
"Despite the array of advice and information available, the Government has not made businesses, particularly small and micro companies, adequately aware of how the new regulations will affect them, let alone the changes that need to be implemented to be compliant by this month.
We have continually heard that the information supplied is often too general and amounts to too little too late for many small businesses. Government must have a responsibility for clarifying new requirements and make obvious how they affect business."
The Hazardous Waste Regulations will add to the list of waste legislation emanating from the EU. These include the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Directive, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, End of Life Vehicles and the Landfill Directive and Co-disposal.