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As we look to close out 2022, it’s timely to look back over the year at some of the key issues and poignant moments we’ve seen in the UK Waste Industry. Throughout the last 12 months, we’ve taken a look at waste’s most pressing issues and have looked to provide you, our clients, with expert knowledge and insight into what is affecting the sector the most.

Similar to previous years we have seen further increasing efforts towards achieving sustainability, improved waste stream analysis and better overall waste management. 2022 however was the year when labour shortages and increased waste costs started to bite across the UK.

Covid & Brexit were two of the major influences on labour shortages across the UK. The competition for Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers led to serious issues with waste movements and collections across both domestic and commercial markets.

Thankfully, we were able to successfully mitigate a range of issues stemming from the HGV crisis across our client portfolio. This was due to our large and diverse network of partner operators and our in-depth knowledge of the complex UK waste market.

Throughout 2022 we saw climate and environment as continual discussion themes across the market. From recycling figures falling to instability in the waste hierarchy itself, there was healthy discussion and debate about energy from waste (EFW), landfill and recycling. The amount of EFW sites either online or set to come online remains something to keep an eye on as the ‘dogfight for waste’ continues to impact the UK waste market.

The climate discussion hit fever-pitch levels during one of the UK’s hottest-ever summer periods. As the grass across our parks and gardens turned brown, a series of fire disasters made news headlines. Some of the most serious fires were ignited within commercial properties and estates. Dry, chemical and electronic waste build-up on site caused a number of devastating fire outbreaks that damaged or destroyed commercial properties. It was a stark reminder that failures in commercial waste management can lead to both costly and also deadly outcomes.

Battery fires peaked during the hotter months leading to industry calls to treat discarded batteries with extreme caution. Battery flare-ups occurred in all areas of the waste stream from onsite fires, refuse truck fires and fires flaring up at EFW sites and refuse centres.

2022 saw the commercial landscape continue on a path of recovery, amidst a continued uncertain global economic backdrop.

Businesses sought ways to be more cost-efficient and looked to streamline operational overheads. An aspect which continued to have a material impact on the health of a business is how commercial waste is managed across sites and estates. There continued to be financial, economic and environmental benefits uncovered when reviewing, consolidating and centralising commercial waste.

GPT continued to uncover commercial waste historic agreements in the market that were costly and not fit for purpose. We expect economic headwinds to continue in 2023 and this is one of the areas businesses should look to when freeing up capital committed to ill-fitting waste agreements.

Government instability continued to rage in UK politics. While there was plenty of talk about environmental policy, net-zero targets and carbon reduction, there still remains a lack of true understanding of the key issues surrounding waste and environmental policy. The fractious and turbulent political environment doesn’t bed well for deep understanding and competent policy creation.

As we look ahead to 2023 we know that expert knowledge and leadership in waste will continue to be highly sought after. The entire team at GPT remain upbeat about the commercial waste landscape leading into the new year. Our expert guidance across all parts of the waste stream remains a key strength of our service offering.

To all of our valued clients, we wish you a safe and happy festive season and we all look forward to working with you again closely in the new year.

GPT Waste offers an industry-leading, transparent and technology-backed offering to the UK waste sector. We can offer strategic reviews of your waste management requirements in order to identify environmentally and cost benefits. Our approach has made us the UK’s leading independent waste management company. To speak to our expert team about your waste management requirements, call 0844 854 5000.