Commercial waste collection costs

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What are commercial waste collection costs?

To understand commercial waste collection costs, it’s essential first to know how commercial waste contracts work.

In a waste collection contract, you agree upfront:

  • The types of waste your business generates.
  • The size and type of bins required to store the waste.
  • The frequency of waste collections.

In exchange for collecting and disposing of this waste, you pay a commercial waste collection charge.

A commercial waste collection charge is a single monthly cost that incorporates the following separate services and costs:

<h3>Bin hire costs</h3>

Bin hire costs

At the start of a commercial waste contract, you’ll receive the bins and other containers needed to store your waste. The waste collection charges include a rental charge for each of these containers.

<h3>Collection charges</h3>

Collection charges

These charges include the costs of collecting your waste, which depends on the frequency of collection and the distance your provider must travel to your business.

<h3>Disposal costs</h3>

Disposal costs

There are many ways to dispose of commercial waste in the UK. Your business waste collection charge will include the costs your provider will incur to dispose of the waste lawfully and responsibly.

<h3>Compliance fees</h3>

Compliance fees

To demonstrate compliance with commercial waste regulations, your provider will issue a waste transfer notice and review and sign hazardous waste consignment notes.

<h3>Landfill tax</h3>

Landfill tax

The landfill tax is a government levy on general waste disposed of in landfills. Your provider incurs these costs for general waste disposal.

<h3>Regulatory costs</h3>

Regulatory costs

Waste disposal in the UK is highly regulated. Your provider maintains a registered waste carrier licence and environmental permits at each of their waste disposal facilities.

How much does commercial waste collection cost?

Commercial waste collection costs comprise three main components:

In the following sections, our commercial waste experts provide broad estimates of each of these primary elements.

It’s important to remember that precise costs depend on your business’s location and the cost of nearby waste disposal facilities.

To get bespoke pricing for your business, use our commercial waste collection comparison service.

Commercial waste disposal costs

Providers will collect and dispose of various types of commercial waste separately. Below are the typical disposal-only costs associated with the most common types of commercial waste.

Commercial waste disposal typeCost per tonne
General business waste£170 to £210
Dry mixed recycling£80 to £160
Uncontaminated plastic recyclingFree to £50
Paper and cardboard recyclingFree to £25
Glass recyclingFree to £30
Wood recycling£90 to £135
Food waste£50 to £180
Electronic wasteTypically free

💡Mixed waste sent to landfills represents the most expensive type of commercial waste disposal. All businesses can reduce costs by segregating their waste to benefit from the cheaper disposal costs of commercial recycling.

Source: The commercial waste costs presented above are based upon local council waste disposal costs across England, Scotland, and Wales, as shown on council websites in May 2024, based on delivering the waste directly to the local disposal facilities.

Commercial waste transportation costs

Unlike disposal costs, waste transportation costs vary widely and depend on:

  • The proximity of your business from an existing collection route.
  • The distance to local recycling and landfill facilities.
  • The frequency of your waste collections
  • The number of bags of waste in each collection.

Use our bespoke commercial waste quote service for accurate business waste collection costs.

💡Commercial waste transportation costs are cheapest in the UK’s biggest cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Southampton, where local business density is the highest.

Commercial waste bin costs

Most commercial waste providers will include bin rental costs within their overall collection quotes; however, should you opt to arrange bin rental separately, here is a guide to the costs associated with different types of bins.

Bin typeSizeCapacityPurchase priceApprox. daily rental price
Wheelie bin240 litres3 Sacks£30-£4010 pence
Commercial wheelie bin (plastic)660 litres8 Sacks£100-£15040 pence
Commercial wheelie bin (plastic)1,100 litres12 Sacks£200-£30065 pence
Commercial wheelie bin (metal)1,100 litres12 Sacks£500-£600100 pence
Front end loader6,000 litres72 Sacks£2,000-£3,000300 pence

Source: The bin rental and purchase costs presented above are based on trade figures advertised by bin manufacturers in May 2024. The bin rental costs are the average of a sample of local council-advertised bin rental costs displayed in May 2024.

💡The bin rental costs will include the initial cost of delivering the containers to your commercial property and the costs of picking these up at the end of your waste contract.

Additional commercial waste costs

Commercial waste contracts account for several scenarios where your waste provider may levy additional charges.

While the terminology may vary among providers, here are the main additional commercial waste charges to be aware of:

<h3>Excess weight charge</h3>

Excess weight charge

In a commercial waste contract, you’ll agree on a maximum weight for each waste/recycling category. Providers typically measure the weight of your rubbish at every collection and will charge for excess weight at a defined rate per excess kilogram.

<h3>Failed collection charge</h3>

Failed collection charge

If your waste collection provider cannot access your commercial waste bins and needs to make a second attempt, they will charge for the failed collection.

<h3>Contamination charges</h3>

Contamination charges

Your business is responsible for ensuring that the waste in each bin matches the description in your waste transfer note and on the bin’s label.

<h3>Container damage charge</h3>

Container damage charge

In a commercial waste contract, you agree to rent the bins over the contract and must return them when it ends. You could be charged for any necessary repairs where the bins have incurred damage while at your business.

<h3>Waste transfer note charge</h3>

Waste transfer note charge

Some providers may charge an administrative fee for issuing the annual renewal of your waste transfer note.

<h3>Retail fee</h3>

Retail fee

Commercial waste management providers may impose a fixed retail fee for the administration involved in managing your waste contract with multiple providers and maintaining a customer services department.

VAT on commercial waste costs

For small businesses that are not yet VAT registered and partially exempt larger businesses, it’s essential to consider the VAT implications of commercial waste contracts.

Here’s a summary of what you must know about VAT on commercial waste charges.

What is VAT?

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a consumption tax levied on goods and services sold within the UK. Generally, an additional 20% of the price of all goods and services purchased by consumers is collected as tax.

For most VAT-registered businesses, any VAT paid on goods purchased can be reclaimed from HMRC, and any VAT collected on goods sold is payable to HMRC.

How much VAT is charged on commercial waste collections?

Commercial waste collection costs from private companies are subject to VAT at the standard rate of 20%. The quotes for commercial waste disposal that we provide are sourced from a panel of private waste management companies, all of which apply VAT at the standard 20% rate.

In the UK, VAT rules exempt commercial waste collection services provided directly by local authorities; these services are VAT-exempt. You must visit your local council’s website to access these local authority services.

Source: Environmental journal – Ruling on VAT on commercial waste.

Are there different VAT rates depending on waste types?

The VAT rules set by HMRC categorise types of waste as follows:

  • Domestic waste – Domestic waste collections are VAT exempt but are usually covered by council tax payments made to your local authority.
  • Commercial waste – Encompassing all types of waste and recycling produced at non-private dwellings, including businesses, schools, hospitals, etc. Commercial waste collections are subject to VAT except where the local council provides the collection.
  • Industrial waste – Collections of controlled hazardous waste produced in heavy industry. Always subject to the full rate of VAT.
  • Clinical waste – Subject to VAT at the standard rate except where the local council provides the collection of the clinical waste.

HMRC’s VAT rules are indifferent to whether the waste is recyclable or whether it’s disposed of in a landfill, exported abroad or incinerated.

💡Waste classification can be complex. Refer to our complete guide to what is classified as commercial waste.

How to reduce commercial waste collection costs

The simplest method is to compare the waste collection quotes offered by waste providers at your location. Simply start by entering your postcode above, and our waste experts will search the market for the cheapest prices on your behalf.

Alternatively, our business waste experts have prepared the following guides that will also reduce commercial waste costs:

  • Waste minimisation and reduction – Avoid unnecessary production of waste in business processes. Reducing waste volumes means fewer waste collections and cheaper prices.
  • Segregating waste: Segregate all recyclable waste types and store them separately to significantly reduce expensive general waste disposal costs.