The cost of waste disposal in the UK varies depending on the size of your business, the type of waste and how much of it you produce. The current Landfill Tax is £91.45 per tonne and gate fees for waste disposal are around £20 per tonne. However, there are other things to consider, such as skip hire, labour costs and even penalties for non-compliance. 

So how much does waste disposal cost for businesses? Let’s explore some of these overheads.

The Costs of Disposing Waste

Waste disposal costs can add up to around 5% of a business’ annual turnover – a significant chunk. These costs can include waste collection, waste transfer and bin hire.

Businesses have to contend with gate fees (which are also known as tipping fees). These are charges levied on an amount of waste when it’s sent to landfill or other types of waste management facility. They can be given by private companies or local councils, depending on where you choose to dispose of your waste. 

We mentioned that gate fees are around £20 per tonne, according to a report by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Small charges like these can add up into a bite from your profits.

Paying the Landfill Tax 

Any businesses that use a landfill need to pay the Landfill Tax rates. Depending on the type of business you run, this tax could vary from a small to a significant amount. Fortunately, the Landfill Tax (which has steadily risen in price – for example, in 2018, it was £88.95 per tonne) represents an environmental incentive. Lower the amount of waste you produce, lower your overheads and have a smaller environmental impact.

Recycling also cuts into this margin by a fair amount. Did you know that around 60% of all the rubbish in the UK that ends up in the bin could be recycled? That’s a large amount of waste that you don’t have to pay for if it can be recycled properly. Essentially, the better you manage your waste, the less you have to spend when its usefulness has come to an end.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The UK government has a number of waste disposal regulations in place. Non-compliance with these regulations, such as fly-tipping, could result in a large fine or even jail time.

Below is a table that covers the kind of fines a company could incur by not following the rules.

Duty of Care offence (for example, if waste is stored incorrectly or it happens to cause environmental pollution). £300 fixed penalty notice or prosecution with a maximum £5,000 fine.
Waste receptacle offence (for example, leaving waste bins outside of collection times). £110 fixed penalty notice or prosecution with a maximum £1,000 fine.
Failure to produce a waste transfer note (when moving non-hazardous waste off your premises, you need a waste transfer note and keep a copy for two years). £300 fixed penalty notice or prosecution with a maximum £5,000 fine.
Fly-tipping. £400 fixed penalty notice or prosecution with an unlimited fine and up to five years’ imprisonment.


Hiring Skips

Hiring skips is a common need for businesses. It can also be a pretty universal pain because they can represent a large investment if you’re using them regularly. The cost of skips will vary – a large skip can be priced at £150 to £240 a week just to hire.

Skips are a good example of where an outdated waste management procedure can increase operational costs.

Let’s think of a scenario where a business produces a fairly large amount of variously-sized waste that can’t be recycled. You’ll need to hire a skip to transport it, but only a certain volume will fit because of its irregular shapes. 

This means you’ll likely have to hire more than one skip or the same skip for a longer amount of time so that everything can be taken to landfill.

Now, this can be improved by reducing the volume of your waste, which can be done through the use of a baler or compactor. By reducing the size of the waste, you can maximise space and make what space you have more cost-efficient.

Non-Monetary Costs

It’s not just the financial costs businesses have to shell out for – you also need to consider time and labour. With waste, it takes time to dispose of. This time is made up of different parts of the lifecycle of waste – from when it’s thrown out to the time it’s collected and taken to landfill or processed with recycling machinery

This time can be increased if there’s a large volume of waste which requires multiple trips back and forth to landfill. Similarly, consider disposal teams. Are you considering hiring one or training new members from scratch? While it can be worthwhile in the long term, this is still a large amount of time being used up which could otherwise be spent on other important tasks.

A remedy for this is working with the right waste management provider – someone who can provide the right machinery for dealing with waste volume and the right engineers to keep them in good shape. 

Some waste management providers provide their own machines and have an in-house engineering team who are on call to remedy any issues. Only the best waste management providers offer this kind of bespoke support. 

You may already be operating with waste disposal machinery. Is that machinery not as effective as it once was? Does it need upgrading? Is it labour intensive? If the answer to any of these is yes, it might be worth considering working with a waste management provider.

So how much does waste disposal cost? As we’ve explored, these costs are never fixed – but if you have an effective waste management procedure, the ability to save money will be. To start creating a waste management policy to be proud of, check out our handy download.

Exploring Cost-Effective Waste Management Solutions

Creating an effective waste management policy in your business couldn’t be more important. However, you’ll need the right information to help your decisions when it comes to waste disposal. 

Download our useful eBook which can provide a helping hand. You’ll find information on waste disposal costs and how to cut those costs while remaining compliant with government regulations.

Just click the link below to get your own copy.

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