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Landfill tax is set to increase from £56 per tonne to £64 per tonne from 1 April 2012, an increase of £8 per tonne.  This part of the Government’s strategy to address the UK’s ever increasing waste problem, however, with most small businesses in the UK still finding it a challenge to reduce waste and recycle more due to lack of support and services in their local areas, will the increase in cost provide better recycling services for commercial waste?


Every year the UK generates approximately 280 million tonnes of waste. According to the latest figures from Defra “The UK dumps 55 per cent of municipal waste into landfill sites, compared to a 40 per cent average across EU member states and Germany’s one per cent. Under the EU Landfill Directive, member states are required to cut the amount of biodegradable municipal waste they send to landfill to 50 per cent on 1995 levels by 2013 and 35 per cent by 2020.”

Landfill tax is the UK Government’s solution to stand in line with the rest of Europe. Improved waste management and recycling measures for domestic and commercial outlets is also a hot topic on the Government agenda and Defra has identified a potential £23billion saving for businesses if they can recycle more and reduce waste quantities.

Under its Waste Review, launched in 2011, Defra is working with local authorities and the waste agencies to improve recycling services offered to SMEs.

In October 2011 a new recycling charter was launched to help boost recycling rates and tackle the issues smaller businesses face in getting access to waste services, the voluntary Business Waste and Recycling Services Commitment  – led by WRAP, aims to bring together smaller businesses that need recycling services, with local councils offering services, and agencies offering best practice waste reduction advice. Seven local authorities have already signed up.

WRAP’s commitment states 12 clear principles:

  • Reliable and regular collections;
  • Collection services tailored to meet the needs of your customers;
  • Clear information about your recycling service;
  • Providing access to household waste and recycling centres for businesses;
  • Contracts managed by following the principles of best practice;
  • Reasonable and clear fees;
  • Guidance for businesses on responsibilities for waste management;
  • Providing directory of local waste and recycling services;
  • Helping businesses to donate unwanted items for reuse or buying quality second-hand products;
  • Sensible approaches to enforcement;
  • Providing easy ways to gather feedback; and
  • A commitment to continuous improvement.

Recycling and waste management must made easier for businesses, more user friendly services and facilities will be offered to help smaller companies effectively manage their waste, whilst maintaining best practice techniques in line with environmental regulations.  Based on the April 1st increase in landfill tax, as an example, businesses that produce 500 tonnes of waste a year will see an increase of £4,000/year in their waste management costs if they do not seek to reuse and recycle, even the very small businesses that fill one or two wheelie bins a week could see an increase in their fees of £15-30 per month.

There’s never been a better time to address commercial waste management and recycling plans for your business.


GPT Waste offer a full Waste Review Service free of charge. Find out how they can help your business deal more effectively with your waste: Call 01928 571 349 or email here.

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