Demystifying the complex costs involved with business waste disposal
Commercial waste. No matter how big your business is, every day it generates rubbish. And the stats don’t lie – it’s estimated that the UK generates more than 41 million tonnes of commercial waste per year. That’s roughly the same as about 3.25 million double decker buses, or more than 15 million African forest elephants.
Disposal of commercial waste (also known as business waste or trade waste) isn’t, shall we say, the most glamorous of topics. But it’s an undeniable necessity – because as your business grows and your team expands, your rubbish output will, too.
But are you (and your budget) prepared? How much will it all cost?
This guide will take you through all you need to know about the costs of commercial waste collection. From bin hire to landfill tax and everything in between, read on to find out how much cash you’ll have to splash to get rid of your business’ trash.
Or, if you’re short on time and want to get stuck straight in, fill out our short form with some details about your business. It’s 100% free, and the quickest way to receive quotes from top waste management suppliers.
Have you bin thinking about what to do with your business’ waste?
How much does commercial waste cost?
Commercial waste costs will depend on your business’ location, as well as the type and amount of rubbish it generates. Bin hire costs typically start from £40 per year, with weekly bin collection costing around £140 annually.
Landfill tax of £94.15 per tonne also applies for UK businesses in 2021, as do admin fees, plus waste transfer costs of between £12 and £250 per tonne.
Commercial waste cost breakdown
The prices above, and in the tables that follow, are estimates of what you can expect to pay for commercial waste collection and disposal. While they serve as a rough guide, it’s important to remember that what you’ll pay will depend on the following:
Type of waste
Understandably, the disposal of hazardous matter (think inedible oils, pesticides, batteries, and asbestos) comes with more fees than other waste, such as recyclable materials. For instance, paper, glass, and cardboard all attract significantly lower waste transfer fees than wood, or general waste.
Location of your business
As anyone who’s ever lived in London will know, things are expensive here – and commercial waste collection is no different.
If your business is based centrally, you’ll have to cover congestion fees for your waste management company’s collection trucks, or even (gulp!) the recently-implemented Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge for high-emission vehicles.
Amount of waste
This one speaks for itself, but it’s true – the more rubbish your business creates, the more you’ll pay. Wheelie bin hire and collection, for instance, is charged based on the size and capacity of the bins you choose.
Basically, what you can expect to pay will depend on all of the above. And to be honest, it could be anywhere between hundreds and tens of thousands of pounds per year.
Below, we’ve broken down the costs of commercial waste disposal into five categories:
We’ll admit, there are a lot of aspects of commercial waste to think about, and charges to boot. The good news, though, is that there are waste management companies out there that’ll take care of the whole process for you – and charge just a single, simple fee to boot.
The better news is that you can receive quotes from top UK waste management suppliers, right here. Just click the graphic below to start your journey.
Bin hire costs
First things first, you’ll need somewhere to put your rubbish – and hiring a bin is a good start. The best thing about bin hire costs is that you’ll only pay for what you need to get rid of – whether that’s two sacks a week, or 20.
|Wheelie bin size||Capacity||Annual hire price|
|120 litres||2 to 3 sacks||£40|
|240 litres||3 to 5 sacks||£50|
|360 litres||5 to 7 sacks||£80|
|660 litres||10 to 12 sacks||£150|
|1,100 litres||15 to 20 sacks||£250|
Bin collection costs
Storing your business' waste, though, is only the start. You’ll then need to have it collected – on a weekly basis, presumably. Again, what you’ll pay here depends on the amount of rubbish your business produces, and how often you need it shifting.
Collections through your waste management company can be as often (or as infrequent) as you need them to be. Just be sure to get your bins taken away before things start to smell!
|Wheelie bin size||Capacity||Annual price for weekly collection|
|120 litres||2 to 3 sacks||£140|
|240 litres||3 to 5 sacks||£255|
|360 litres||5 to 7 sacks||£370|
|660 litres||10 to 12 sacks||£650|
|1,100 litres||15 to 20 sacks||£1,000|
Waste transfer costs
Uh… what? This (rather vague-sounding) fee refers to the costs involved with taking your rubbish to a local waste transfer station. This is where the refuse goes to be sorted, before continuing on its way to a recycling plant or landfill.
Don’t stress too much about these fees – your waste management company will cover them, and then bill you for it with the rest of the costs involved, for convenience. But it’s still good to get a sense of what they are, so let’s take a look.
|Type of waste||Price per tonne||Minimum charge|
|Mixed general waste||£150 to £250||£50|
|Dry mixed recyclables||£50||£30|
|Cardboard and paper||Free||Free|
|Wood||£100 to £200||£40|
The data doesn’t lie – the more you can minimise your general waste output, the cheaper your commercial waste solution will be.
So take steps to make your business greener. Because investing more in recyclable materials for your workplace won’t just benefit the environment – it’ll cut your wallet some slack, too.
But the costs don’t stop there – because of course, the government has to take a cut, too. This comes in the shape of landfill tax, and it’s based on how much rubbish you’re getting rid of.
|Landfill tax rate from 1st April 2020||Landfill tax rate from 1st April 2019||Landfill tax rate from 1st April 2018|
|Standard rate||£94.15 per tonne||£91.35 per tonne||£88.95 per tonne|
|Lower rate||£3 per tonne||£2.90 per tonne||£2.80 per tonne|
What you’ll pay in landfill tax is also dependent on the type of waste involved. Inert or inactive waste (like soil or rocks) qualifies for a significantly smaller charge than standard or hazardous waste.
As you can see, landfill tax continues to increase each financial year. It's unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect this year's rates, but – if history is anything to go by, at least – you can expect to see another hike from April 2021.
Let’s face it – all good (or at least all useful) things in life usually come with a bit of paperwork. And commercial waste collection is no different. Let’s take a peek at some of the additional assorted costs you might have to cover to get rid of your business’ rubbish.
Waste Transfer Note (WTN)
A WTN is a legal document that records the transfer of waste from one party to another. It contains a description of the waste (quantity and/or weight) along with the time and date of the transfer. It confirms that the waste (and responsibility for said waste) has been received by your management company.
And – you guessed it – there’s a fee involved every time a WTN is completed. But don’t stress – you can cut costs by buying an annual season ticket for multiple loads.
You’ll pay a gate fee every time your business’ rubbish gets dropped off at a landfill or recycling plant. It’s currently set at around £6 per tonne. Your waste management company will cover this, and add it to your bill later.
Londoners know all too well about this one – a daily £11.50 charge for driving within the capital’s congestion zone between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. This fee was recently joined by the ULEZ, an even stricter daily fine of £12.50 for high-emission vehicles. Basically, it’s expensive to drive in London.
And, understandably, your waste management company isn’t picking up the tab. So if you’re based in the big smoke, and want weekday commercial waste collection, then you’ll need to take these costs into consideration.
Waste Transfer License
A waste transfer license (also known as a waste carrier license) is a legal requirement if you're transporting or disposing of your business' rubbish yourself. A higher tier license costs £154, while a lower tier license can be obtained for free.
If you have an upper tier licence, you must renew it ever three years, at a cost of £105.
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How to save money on your commercial waste collection
If you’ve read this far, you’ll understand that commercial waste collection costs aren’t particularly straightforward. Landfill tax, gate fees, bin collection (and hire), waste transfer costs, waste transfer notices… Huh?
Even aside from the myriad types of fees involved, there are enough other variables – your business’ size, location, and waste type – to cause you stress. So how do you simplify it all, while also making sure that you’re getting the best deal for your business?
With a waste management company, that’s how. UK-based companies such as CheaperWaste take care of the whole process for you, from bin collection to waste transfer costs. You’ll get all those pesky charges we’ve just been talking about, rolled up into a single, no-nonsense fee.
Why not fill in our quick quote-finding form now, and start exploring what kind of value a waste management company can bring to your business? It’s free, takes just a minute, and you’ll receive quotes from industry-leading commercial waste collection suppliers.