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Mergers and acquisitions in the UK’s waste market are nothing new, but when two of the biggest waste management firms in the game, Veolia and Suez fleshed out a merger deal last year, it led to fears that the UK’s waste industry would be stripped of vital competition and innovation.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently released its full report into competition fears stemming from the merger of two of the UK’s largest waste operators, Veolia and Suez. The full findings of the report released on the 18th of January 2022 stated that the merger posed a significant risk to competition in the market, especially concerning large and complex waste contracts. The CMA report echoed fears from various corners of the UK waste industry, all concerned that only a very small number of waste operators are available to tender on complex waste contracts. The merger would likely lead to a severe shortage of competition in the tender process, equalling higher costs, poor service, and a lack of innovation for the sector.

As one of the leading independent waste management firms in the UK, GPT Waste has been continually monitoring M&A activity in the waste market and helping clients navigate markets with less competition. Managing Director of GPT Waste Guy Cherry explains, “Merger & acquisition activity in the waste market is nothing particularly new, in fact, we’ve seen a hotbed of M&A activity over the past few years in the UK. These major market mergers however really capture the attention of the entire market and the regulatory authorities.”

“Naturally, price is the major driver of concern when these M&As occur. But it’s service level, waste stream efficiency, and innovation that are real bugbears of clients in the market.”

Mr. Cherry goes on to explain that it’s service level, not just lack of competition, that can lead to higher prices. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen service level drop off as M&A activity rises. The large firms have an insatiable appetite for the waste tonnage and when that rises substantially per firm after an M&A its service level can drop away, especially for smaller clients. Servicing and proper consultation of clients’ waste streams are where all the efficiencies can be uncovered. We find on an average consultation we can save new clients between 25-30% on their waste costs. There is a significant cost saving that’s waiting to be uncovered but when the service level isn’t there there’s no chance to discover these efficiencies.”

Being independent yet portraying significant buying power in the UK market is a key part of the GPT offering. As M&A activity rumbles on, the independent nature of the GPT broker model helps to keep things accountable. Innovation across client waste streams remains a strong focus for both cost-saving and environmental factors. Service level remains high with dedicated personal account managers, and importantly, it’s backed with a superior data offering that tracks waste movements with transparency over the life of each waste contract.

Mr. Cherry sums it up “M&A activity will continue in the market despite regulatory interference, but this doesn’t have to always lead to outcomes of price inflation, lower service levels, and stagnant innovation. We feel confident the GPT offering remains absolutely vital amongst the M&A environment in today’s market.”



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 environmental 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 or email