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With each start to a new year, we naturally welcome the return to work with a renewed sense of optimism, purpose and drive. However, this year sits apart from most of their predecessors. While we all enjoyed collectively waving goodbye to the pressures of 2020, we soon realised our sense of cautious optimism will be tested at least for a little longer in 2021. 

The gloomy outlook of another national lockdown is weighing on us all and it’s hard to be overtly upbeat about the near future. Many of us are facing ongoing market retractions and a host of new challenges. 2021 might just be the year we eventually see the back-end of the pandemic but it’s going to still be a year of adaption, flexibility, cost reduction, change and survival for most. We need to be nimble and we need to look at what is most important to us.

As the UK’s largest independent waste management service provider, we’re in a unique position to be working with and supporting a host of industries who are all battling through the pandemic. From the NHS, to defence, to public housing, leisure and the retail sector, the common thread we see is overwhelming change. Our client’s needs have changed, their businesses, customers, waste management protocols, demands, offerings, staffing, market and ways to do business have all changed. We take a look at some important changes it’s worth being across in 2021.

Types of waste.

Covid-19 and bio-waste is not only a public contamination risk but it’s a cost nightmare if biohazard waste isn’t correctly managed. Where 12 months ago PPE and bio-waste waste largely stemmed from the medical sector, we’re now seeing a steep rise in demand for tightly controlled bio-waste solutions in regular places of work, retail spaces and soon, schools. With widespread testing protocols set to become mainstream, Covid-19 waste will be a key factor in many industrial waste management solutions. There is an urgent need for many to review and adapt their waste solutions currently in place.

Waste volumes and behaviours.

Not only has the type of waste changed during the pandemic but the volume of waste has changed for many businesses. With offices and retail spaces closed there is a huge shift of where waste is generated and where it needs to now be collected from. 

Additionally, with workplaces dealing with new Covid-19 waste, this brings the need for ‘waste education’. Installing new practices and new bins won’t lead to fully effective waste management change unless it’s supported by a programme of educational support from your waste partner.

Requirement for re-distribution of resource.

Changes in policy and public behaviour are leading to waste piling up in different areas. For example; parks and public outdoor spaces have become the only outlet for exercise and recreation. Most of the densely populated, urban green spaces are now a hive of socially-distanced outdoor activity. This had led to a shift from people consuming food and drink on-premise to an infestation of single-use food and beverage containers in the bins of our public spaces. Where cities, towns and boroughs might have similar overall levels of waste to be managed, this waste is shifting to other areas and existing contracts aren’t meeting the new demands. 

Review of existing waste contracts. 

Market and trading conditions are now vastly different from the time in which most client waste management contracts were drafted and signed. We’re seeing an urgent need for review and adaptation of these agreements and policies. 


We’re at a pinch point where businesses are scouring the balance sheets to trim fat and urgently reduce costs. Waste management contracts that have not yet been reviewed in light of the new market conditions may just be costing firms more than they should be. On average our waste management reviews net our clients 25-30% in savings on their current arrangements. 

The way forward.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Thankfully, multiple vaccines are now in reach for the population. This is a huge step in turning the tide of this terrible period we are enduring. With tough trading conditions now and still to come. We can hold tight to at least a glimmer of optimism usually felt at the start of a new year. 

Our aim in 2021 is to undertake a year of resourcefulness, dependability and support wherever possible. If your business needs and service requirements have changed in light of Covid-19, then there might just be a better solution that can be tailored to suit. We remain open and ready to assist.