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WRAP (the government Waste Resources Action Programme), estimates that a quarter of all waste produced in England is generated by businesses. The costs for dealing with commercial waste disposal correctly and legally can be surprising for small business owners, who may wonder why is something as simple as waste collections can be so expensive?

Well, waste collections are anything but simple!

Here we’re going to look at the costs and logistics involved in commercial waste collection.

Logistics and transportation

Almost every occupied building in the UK, whether that be commercial or residential, will need waste collection services. That’s approximately 25 million homes and 1.8 million commercial properties (2015 figures).

While there are many different suppliers and local councils that collect waste, that is still a lot of collections to be made and arranging all of these collections can be a logistical nightmare, especially for commercial waste collections.

Residential Waste Collections

Residential collections like those done by local councils have a slightly easier job when arranging waste collections. These service providers generally know that every house on their route will require their waste to be collected, therefore, routes can be planned out in advance and will usually be made on the same day of the week, every week, or every two weeks.

There are also fewer restrictions on the times that residential bins can be collected, and if bins aren’t on the roadside then they simply won’t be collected.

Additionally, local council drivers are not constrained by the same EU regulations on driving hours that commercial drivers are subject to, which theoretically means that they can carry on making collections even if they have been delayed or held up. A commercial waste collection driver in the same position would be forced to take mandatory breaks and may subsequently be unable to complete his route in the given time.

Commercial Waste Disposal Collections

Commercial waste collection logistics tend to be a lot more complicated to arrange, with many more varying factors. For example, they must bear the following factors in mind when planning and carrying out collections:

  • Not every business on their route will be their clients, they will have to specifically look for each business and each one of their bins.
  • Businesses may have limited time slots when their bins can be collected, which will need to be adjusted for when planning.
  • Some local councils restrict the time residents can ‘put their bins out’ onto public property, such as Edinburgh City Council, which must be planned for in advance.
  • Some businesses store their bins on their property, which makes them difficult to reach.
  • Commercial drivers are subject EU regulated driving hours, which means if there are delays due to bad weather or traffic, then they may not be able to complete their route within their allowed hours, and collections will have to be re-arranged.

All these aspects mean that the planning of the collections can be difficult, and costly.

Rising In-Direct Costs

Like all businesses, waste management collection services suffer from seemingly ever-increasing costs.

These increases can come from changes in business rates to increases in wage and pension provisions and rising utility costs. However, some of these rising costs can be due to operational activities that are vital to the business’s services. For example,

  • Congestion, or clean air charges. Waste management service providers who operate within London are required to pay a charge to enter the Low Emissions Zone. This is expected to be rolled out to other cities in the UK such as Leeds Birmingham and Newcastle.
  • Rising costs of fuel.
  • Increasing road tax.

Any increase in transportation costs such as fuel prices and insurance will have an indirect effect on the costs of commercial waste collection. Many larger firms are now beginning to trial electric vehicles in an effort to combat increasing costs, however, electric vehicles are pricy and require large upfront investment, and are unlikely to save money in the short term.

Rising Commercial Waste Disposal Related Costs

Businesses, unfortunately, seem to take the brunt of waste collection costs, due to various charges and legislation that are not usually passed on to households. These can include:

Gate fees:

The Gate fee (or Tipping Fee) is a cost applied to commercial waste collectors when they tip waste at a landfill or materials recovery facilities. This is charged by weight and can (currently) be up to £6 per tonne. These charges are designed to offset the cost of operating and maintaining the site. Some sites may incorporate the waste Landfill in this charge, in which case the cost per tonne would be higher.

Waste Landfill tax:

The waste Landfill tax is applied to waste being tipped (usually at landfill sites) and is charged by weight. The tax was designed to enable to UK to meet its targets, set out in the Landfill directive, for the landfilling of biodegradable waste. The tax has increased 12-fold since its introduction and is likely to continue to rise as stricter environmental protection laws are enforced.

Duty of Care/Waste Transfer note:

This is a legal document that all businesses need to prove they are dealing with their waste correctly. Without a valid waste, transfer note your business could be fined. Many suppliers will offer the first Duty of Care document at a reduced cost but will more than likely charge for subsequent documentation to be completed annually.

CheaperWaste Commercial Waste Disposal Costs

At CheaperWaste we work hard to ensure that rising costs are not passed onto our customers.

Our business model means that collectively our customers have strong buying power and we work hard to negotiate favourable rates (usually reserved for large corporations) with all our suppliers meaning we have been able to avoid increasing our prices.