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The UK’s current heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortage is affecting a wide range of sectors across the country. But with heavy haulage at the heart of efficient waste and refuse movements, is refuse collection about to hit breaking point?

Over the past couple of weeks, news on the UK’s HGV driver shortage has become almost fever-pitched. As the country hauls itself out of a prolonged lockdown and the economy bursts back to life, it has meant firms around the UK have had to quickly adjust from hibernation to peak summer mode in a short space of time. This rapidly increased market activity, although very welcomed, has led to various supply-chain strains across countless sectors.

What are the main issues?
There are a few main issues at play that are leading to the perfect storm in the HGV driver market. Covid-19 saw many European drivers return to their originating countries to ride out the market downturns and prolonged lockdowns. Then Brexit kicked in which made the return to the UK job market a more tedious task for EU drivers. Couple the new barriers to work with a sharp increase of Brits ‘staycationing’ and we’ve seen spiking demand for everything from food to, you guessed it, waste. Now we find ourselves around 100,000 drivers short in a peak time of summer economic activity in the UK.

Of the HGV drivers we do have in the UK, high demand is supercharging the job market and those drivers are being lured to whoever can pay the most. Pair this with the fact that frequent ‘pings’ from the NHS app have been consistently sending drivers into periods of isolation and it’s easy to see where the strains are coming from.

How is GPT Waste mitigating the risk of our clients?
Whilst we’ve heard the growing reports of waste collection disruption we’ve been able to almost entirely mitigate the risk of this for our clients. We can consistently do this by;

–       Having access to a wider network of third-party waste providers. Our position as the UK’s leading independent waste management company ensures that we have buying, resourcing and negotiating power that comes from the sheer volume and market size.

–       Our managed service means that clients aren’t left to navigate the implications of the HGV driver shortage on their own. While we are hearing frequent reports of disruptions to waste collection across most industries we’re able to manage these potential issues on behalf of our clients and ensure a continued, efficient and managed service is provided, even in the current crisis.

–       A fluid approach to our client waste contracts means that we are consistently able to tend to the changing needs of our customers. Should this come from a sudden increase in waste activity which we’re seeing from the staycationing boom in the UK, or from a lack of HGV drivers to collect waste, we’re able to activate our team and our network to move waste more effectively and efficiently in the current climate.

While there’s pain laying ahead for logistics, waste and supply chains we’re well placed to guide our clients through this challenging period. If you’re currently experiencing waste stream inefficiencies as a result of the current UK driver market our team will be able to navigate through this on your behalf.



GPT Waste offers a strategic review 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