Between them, UK businesses generate 41.1 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste a year. Did you know that that’s just under a quarter of all British waste produced every year? And to help British companies dispose of their waste responsibly, there are over 200 business waste collection companies in the UK for you to choose from.
Commercial waste collection may not be the most glamorous profession, but right now there is a fierce price war under way with companies competing on both price and quality for your business.
In this article, we look at:
- Which companies offer business waste collection,
- What regular commercial waste collection costs,
- What your quote might and might not include,
- The different types of commercial waste,
- What a “duty of care” for business waste is and why you need one,
- What a waste transfer note is,
- Whether you can dispose of your own business rubbish yourself, and
- Ways to lower the cost of commercial waste collection.
With over 200 companies offering the service, how do you know you’re getting the best deal for your business? Let us search for the most competitive quotes for you from our panel of providers – there’s no obligation to accept any quote provided and our service is free. Please fill in the form above to get started.
Who collects commercial waste?
Until deregulation, local authorities used to collect commercial waste exclusively. This service was not included as part of the non-domestic business rates that companies pay – you paid extra for it.
Local authorities still offer commercial waste management (still in addition to your business rates) but they now face competition from privately owned business waste collection companies in the UK.
Competition among waste collection companies is intense and, by shopping around, you can save up to 40% on your annual rubbish disposal costs.
How Much Does Commerical Waste Collection Cost?
What determines how much you pay for regular waste collection? There are four main factors:
- how often you need your waste to be collected – generally the more visits to collect rubbish, the cheaper the per visit cost
- how much waste you produce and the weight of your rubbish – less waste and lighter waste means lower bills as transportation and landfill costs are cheaper
- the types of waste you want removing – some types of rubbish require specialist waste collection companies
- the location of your business premises – the closer you are to a business waste collection company’s headquarters, the cheaper.
Charges generally included in your quote
For standard collections, you will generally be quoted a weekly or a monthly price. Included within most operators’ prices are:
- transportation costs (including parking costs, congestion charge costs, and fuel used in getting to your premises)
- labour charges (number of people in the truck and the time it takes to collect your waste)
- taxes (landfill charges, recycling operator fees,
- administration charges (including site visits, paperwork, and the cost of licences)
Most waste collection companies send quotes which exclude VAT.
Average standing charges you’ll pay for standard waste collection are for one collection per week:
|Size of bin (litres)||Minimum bag capacity||Maximum bag capacity||Lowest annual price||Highest annual price|
Occasional extra costs
Some waste disposal companies will charge you for rental of their bins (rent depends on the size of the bins) while others don’t. There may be further “weight limit” charges on bins however not all operators charge for this.
If your operator does charge for bin hire, please see typical charges for this below:
|Size of bin (litres)||Minimum bag capacity||Maximum bag capacity||Lowest average price||Highest average price|
A handful of waste disposal companies also offer bin insurance – many in the industry question the value of these and it would be advisable to ask to see the insurance documentation prior to agreeing to take out a policy to see if it’s right for your business.
What are the different types of waste?
Commercial waste can generally be separated into the following categories:
- builders’ waste – waste produced from construction or building work.
- bulky items – items which take up a lot of space which may need separate disposal (refrigerators, TVs, mattresses, furniture, and so on)
- electrical equipment
- green waste – organic waste from gardens and kitchens which may be suitable for composting
- hazardous waste – hazardous or dangerous waste like asbestos, batteries, brake fluids, fridges, oils, paints, pesticides, and solvents which needs a specific disposal process
- healthcare and clinical waste
- inert waste – debris and rubble
- landfill waste – non-recyclable waste destined for landfill
- recyclable waste – waste like glass or paper whose constituents can be remade or reused
- scrap waste – generally paper, cardboard, and metal
- vehicles and oil
You will likely be charged much more for the collection and disposal of hazardous and bulkier items. For hazardous items, you’ll need to ensure that your business waste collection company has the correct licence – a standard waste carrier licence certificate will often not enough.
What is the “Duty of Care” for business waste?
Commercial organisations which, in the course of business, produce rubbish are required by law to agree to sign a waste duty of care code of practice. You must agree to abide by the waste duty of care code of practice every year and keep a copy for the two years following expiry of the certificate.
When bound to this code, you and your company promise to:
- keep its rubbish safe,
- make every effort to recover, recycle, reuse, or prevent waste,
- sort and store different types of waste separately from each other,
- complete a waste transfer note for every consignment of waste,
- deal with its rubbish responsibly, and
- allow it to be taken away by other businesses with authorisation to take it away.
When you sign up with a registered business waste management company, you must agree to sign a duty of care agreement before they’ll take your rubbish away. You also need to check that your selected waste disposal company has a waste carrier licence or you could be fined up to £5,000 – make sure that you ask to see a copy and, if in doubt, call the local authority shown on the certificate for verification.
There is no government charge for signing up to a waste duty of care code of practice however some registered waste collection companies may charge you an administration fee of up to £100.
What is a waste transfer note?
A waste transfer note is a document which records the transfer of waste from your company to your commercial waste management company.
The waste transfer note also documents;
- the type of waste
- the time and date on which you transferred the waste to your collection company
- the location of the transfer
- the names and addresses of your company and the collection company
- information on each party’s authorised person category
- registration certificate information for both parties including the number on the certificate and the issuing local authority
- the waste licence number for either or both party and the issuing local authority
If you want non-hazardous waste to be removed every week, does this mean that you have to sign a waste transfer note every week? The answer is “no” – you can obtain a “season ticket” lasting for a year to cover all incidences of waste removal.
You will need to complete and sign a separate Hazardous Waste Consignment Note if, on occasion, you believe that the waste you wish to dispose of could be classed as hazardous.
As with the waste duty of care code of practice, there is no government charge for a waste transfer note however you may be asked to pay an administration fee of up to £100 by some waste collection companies.
Can I get rid of my own business rubbish instead?
You can dispose of your own business rubbish at a local waste transfer station. If you intend on disposing your own waste regularly, there is no charge for a waste carrier licence but if you intend to dispose of other companies’ rubbish, you’ll need to pay £154 for a licence. You can apply here.
To dispose of your own commercial waste, you will need to pay:
- a Gate Fee (normally between £5 and £7 per tonne) to the waste transfer station
- waste transfer costs
- landfill taxes according to the weight of your rubbish
- petrol/diesel costs for transporting the waste
- a leasing or hire fee for the vehicle taking you to the waste transfer station
Landfill tax is charged at two different rates – inert (mainly for building materials, soil, etc) and standard (including general commercial waste and hazardous substances).
|Landfill tax charge per ton (FY 2020/21)|
Waste transfer costs per tonne are generally priced as follows:
|Type of waste||Minimum charge||Max price per tonne|
|Cardboard and paper||N/A||£0|
|Dry mixed recyclables||£30||£50|
|Mixed general waste||£50||£200|
You should also factor in the time taken in sorting and separating the waste as well as transportation charges to and from the waste transfer station. If you run your own business, try to assess whether the productive time you lose in disposing of your own waste is greater than the cost of paying a waste management service company to do it for you.
Do waste disposal companies offer a one-time service?
Yes – most waste disposal companies will offer to take rubbish away from your commercial premises ad hoc. However, because the waste disposal company will not be able to include you in their regular schedule of collections, you should expect to pay a premium for the service.
If you have a one-off disposal that you need to be taken away and you do get your rubbish taken away regularly by a provider, your existing relationship with them might mean that you’re offered a significant discount. It’s always worth asking around for the best price though.
How can I lower the cost of waste disposal for my business?
Waste collection and disposal is a necessary cost for most businesses in the UK and there are ways that you and your team can save money.
You should start by encouraging colleagues to recycle as much as possible – although recycled rubbish still requires collection, it normally costs less because your rubbish has value. The waste operator which processes your rubbish will be able to sell on the recyclable materials to industry.
In certain sectors, like the food and construction industries, your raw materials may be worth even more so you should look for a recycling company which specialises in your waste products.
You may also want to move towards having a paperless office – in the Internet age where virtually every colleague you work with has a desk with a computer, how much paper do you need anyway?
You also have the opportunity to switch suppliers. With over 200 different business waste management companies to choose from, we appreciate that you don’t have the time to get quotes from every potential supplier.
Let us do this for you instead. Simply fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll find you the 3-4 most competitive quotes available from our wide panel of suppliers.