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A habitual act, it’s easy to throw rubbish away without much thought – especially when it comes to the weight of waste.


While it is clear to see when a bin can’t hold any more waste, is that really when a bin is full?


Business waste is actually measured and charged for by its weight.


The exact weight allowance of each container is noted on each business’ Duty of Care document. Bins that exceed this maximum weight allowance will receive additional charges on top of their business’s monthly waste collection fee.


Why weight limits exist

Weight limits exist due to landfill tax.


Landfill tax is collected by the government to incentivise more environmentally friendly waste practices.


When waste is sent to landfill, it not only becomes an eyesore but an environmental hazard, often taking lengthy periods to decompose and releasing toxins and greenhouses gases while it does so.


By charging trade collections by weight, businesses are encouraged to develop a better waste management strategy and seek alternatives to landfill. The tax was hailed as the United Kingdom’s first environmental tax.


Another reason for the existence of weight limits is health and safety.


A business owner has a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, and anyone who might be affected by their business.


This applies to anyone who comes onto, or into, business property – such as refuse collectors.


This means that any injuries or accidents that could occur from both staff or waste collectors lifting heavy loads would be at the business owners liability.


Weight vs volume

Given business waste is measured by weight, it is important to understand the difference between weight and volume.


A bin may be full to the rim with polystyrene, but would probably weigh much less than a bin half-filled with heavy food waste.




What to do about it

While there is nothing you can do to avoid landfill tax, you can reduce the possibility of excess weight charges.


Carrying out a waste audit and implementing an improved waste management strategy can have numerous benefits for a business, including financially.


Separating waste – whether that means food waste or committing to recycling – will initially incur a cost but can save on weight charges in the long term.


Food waste tends to be heavy, and there’s many examples of hospitality company’s financial success when segregating food.


For those already separating waste, an additional general waste bin, again while an extra cost, can reduce bills thereafter, and avoid unexpected charges that weren’t budgeted for.


The Duty of Care also outlines it is the responsibility of a business to do all they reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste – in that order.


Therefore, primarily, one way to reduce the weight of waste is to simply stop creating as much.


Changes do not have to be wholesale, and can be as straightforward as buying less superfluous stock or switching from disposable to reusable.


If you need help with your waste collection then get in touch with our expert team today who can offer advice and suggestions that will help your business save money.

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