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Commercial Waste Disposal Costs Explained

The Clearway team frequently receives enquiries about the costs of commercial waste disposal. Since there are so many factors involved, it isn’t easy to pinpoint an exact price.

As a rough guide, most UK businesses spend the following:

  • From around £40-£100 per bin, per year for hire.
  • Weekly collection costs starting from about £15-50 per week.
  • Landfill taxes of £94.15 per year (for 2021).
  • Waste transfer costs approximately £12-£250 per tonne (demonstrating the difficulty of provided exact prices without further details!).

Here we’ll explore what to consider when looking at your waste disposal budget and what will make a difference to the overall cost.

What Factors Make a Difference in Commercial Waste Disposal Costs?

There are all sorts of factors to consider when working out the costs of your waste disposal services, depending on things such as:

  • Your location – for example, if you’re on a busy industrial estate, the costs might be lower than in a less accessible rural site.
  • The type of waste – anything requiring specialist handling, transfers or disposal is more expensive to manage.
  • Volumes – there are economies of scale to be found in all businesses, and while the more you produce, the more it will cost, the costs per tonne can reduce if you have a large waste disposal requirement and can consolidate services.

Let’s run through those considerations in a little more detail!

Breaking Down the Cost Elements in Business Waste Removal

Businesses in difficult to reach areas will usually attract a higher charge in terms of weekly collection charges, purely to account for the additional time and staffing required. 

However, you’ll also find that city centres are at the higher end too. London businesses will see slight changes in pricing to account for congestion fees.

The types of waste are also consequential – examples of hazardous substances include:

  • Batteries and chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Asbestos 
  • Sharps and medical disposal

These items will always cost slightly more to deal with and might have regulations around how they are handled, transported and disposed of – all of which will be rolled up in your commercial waste disposal costs.

Aside from the environmental benefits, it’s also well worth making an effort to separate recyclables from a cost perspective. Materials such as paper or glass that can be recycled cost significantly less than landfill waste or hazardous substances. Learn more about flammable waste removal.

Of course, if your company produces a large waste volume, the overall outlay will be higher than for a smaller business. 

However, it’s essential to periodically review the prices you pay, as by consolidating smaller wheelie bins into one larger one or staggering your collection days, you might be able to cut back.

For example, if you have two 120 litre general waste containers that are emptied once per week, you’ll be paying for hire charges on both – even if they are unloaded simultaneously and the volume doesn’t change. 

Swapping out those two containers for one larger 240-litre bin would cut back on your hire charge from around £80 a year to £50, and reduce your annual collection charges from £280 on average to £255!

While there are many factors at play, by reviewing your waste collection requirements and speaking to an experienced provider, there may be some great opportunities to work on your bottom line.

What are the Average Costs for UK Commercial Wheelie Bin Hire and Collection?

The first stage of deciding how to manage your waste is to estimate what you need – because hiring a larger disposal container or booking more regular collections than required will undoubtedly cost more than it should.

It’s also wise to consider different types of waste – if you separate them, you might require less frequent collections, which is a more significant cost element then the hire itself.

For example, suppose you have a hazardous waste bin, a recycling container and a general waste bin. In that case, you might decide that recycling needs collecting fortnightly, general waste weekly, and hazardous waste bi-weekly – and not need to have the same routine for every type of waste your business produces.

How Much Does it Cost to Have Commercial Waste Professionally Disposed Of?

So, let’s start this question by thinking about what it will cost to manage your commercial waste disposal in-house. 

You can do this, but will need to invest in training and licensing, as well as staff time, vehicles and some of the mandatory charges that a waste disposal provider will include in their contract pricing:

  • Waste Transfer Licenses are legally required to transport or dispose of any commercial waste. These cost £154 for a higher tier license, with a renewal cost of £105 every three years.
  • Landfill Taxes are charged by the government per tonne of waste disposed of. The charge depends on what sort of waste you produce – and has just increased again from the 2021/22-tax year (see the table below for updated charges).
  • Administrative costs – such as the processing of Waste Transfer Notes (chargeable per disposal or on an annual season ticket), Gate Fees of around £6 for each visit to the recycling centre or waste processing plant, Congestion Charges of £11.50 per day for businesses in London, or more for high-emission vehicles.
  • Waste Transfer Costs – as detailed in the table below. These are payable for the services provided by your local waste transfer station, whether that’s recycling or being transported to the landfill.

Landfill tax rates from April 2021:

Charge per tonne from April 2021 Charge per tonne from April 2020
Standard rate £96.70 £94.15
Lower rate (applies to inactive waste such as soil). £3.10 £3.00

 

Waste Transfer Costs:

Waste category Transfer cost per tonne Minimum charge
Mixed general £150 – £250 £50
Dry mixed recyclables £60 £30
Paper and cardboard £0 £0
Glass £12 £0
Green waste £50 £30
Wood £100 – £200 £40
Inactive waste £50 £30
Food waste £70 £40

As you can see, there is a whole lot of admin and work rolled up into a commercial waste disposal contract – and it’s a lot more than collecting and emptying bins!

Added to training time, staff costs, vehicle running expenses, and administrative fees, most businesses find that it is substantially more cost-effective to commission a professional commercial waste disposal company to deal with all of these elements on their behalf.

The benefits include knowing that all the regulatory licenses and permits are dealt with, and of course, that your commercial premises remain waste-free and under control, with regular management from your waste collection professionals.

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