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Waste disposal prices

Startups analyses the factors that affect waste disposal prices in the UK to help you build a cost-effective commercial waste management plan for your small business

Waste. Every business produces it, yet how effectively is it being managed in your company right now?

Chances are it’s crossed your mind, but as a small business owner, you may not be sure what your options are when it comes to commercial waste collection. So we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you assess this key area of your business, including a breakdown of the cost of waste disposal.

Are you wondering about the cost of waste management, and in particular, if it’s really expensive? Similarly, do you want to find out how to save money on waste management?

We’ll provide the answers to these key questions, and more, to help you assess which waste management solution is best for your startup.

In this article, we’ll cover:

Read the whole article for a complete overview of commercial waste disposal prices, or skip to the section that’s most relevant to your business for a closer look at that topic.

Cheapest waste management companies

Price is likely to be a priority for many small businesses. Whether you want to save money on hiring or buying bins, or you want to understand how the price you’ll pay is calculated, we highlight some of the cheapest waste management companies in the table below.

Company Best for Cost-saving feature
Business Waste Customer service Free bins
Enviro Waste Eco-friendly Clear pricing structure

Alternatively, to compare quotes for commercial waste management straight away, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

One-off waste disposal prices

Waste prices vary, depending on several factors, including the type, size and amount of waste to be collected. In this section we provide a guide to approximate waste disposal prices.
In general, charges are usually based upon the following measurements:

  • Per kilogram
  • Per litre
  • Per tonne
  • Per truck
  • Per cubic yard
  • Per price band

If the waste exceeds the standard charges outlined to you then you can expect to pay more.

We had a look at some average prices for one-off van collection of commercial waste.

Typical one-off commercial waste disposal prices:

Amount/type of waste Disposal price (approx.)
Truck load (¼) £110
Truck load (½) £170
Truck load (¾) £230
Truck load (full) £290
1 cubic yard £70
3 cubic yards £100
7 cubic yards £180
9 cubic yards £210
Builders waste – 150 kilograms (kg) £70
Builders waste – 500 kg £135
Builders waste – 1000 kg £270

Note that prices depend on the type of waste, as well as the limit given. This is usually either weight (e.g. up to 200kg) or price (e.g. £300) for the time and labour required to clear and dispose of the waste.

Be sure to check if prices are inclusive or exclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT), as this can alter the price, depending on this is relevant for business or not. The figures above are based on excluding VAT.

Prices for local council bin collection service

These charges are based upon the size of the bin, as well as for the bin hire and collection. Another factor that may affect local council bin collection hire prices is your business type, with charities and nurseries two examples of businesses that may be subject to different rates.

Similarly, recycling is often collected for a different fee. It may also be possible to get your business waste collected in bags or sacks, which tend to be charged on the number used per week, as well as the collection frequency.

Bin size Bin collection fee (per collection)
240 litres (l) £7
360 l £9
1100 l £19

It’s possible for business waste collection to be done by your local council, subject to a fee. Some benefits include that they know the local area, and as you may already be used to the local council collecting your household rubbish, they’re a more familiar option.

However, if your business operates across different boroughs or multiple councils then you may have to arrange collections with each council separately. Also, your business may be subject to differing fees across the locations.

Cost of disposing commercial waste at a waste transfer station

There are two options for commercial waste collection and disposal:

  • Hire a commercial waste management company or your local council to do it on your behalf (as described above)
  • Dispose of it yourself directly at a waste transfer station

Whichever option you choose, ensure the waste collection service is licensed (or you are as a waste carrier), as otherwise you could be fined – remember that your rubbish is your responsibility, up until and including the disposal process. You may be able to see a company’s licence online, if provided.

Aspects to be aware of if you are disposing commercial waste:

1. Waste carrier licenses

If you’re transporting waste that is only produced by your business then it’s generally free. If you’ll be transporting other waste too, then a £154 registration fee applies.

Note that you’ll also need to register if you organise for someone else to dispose of your business’ waste.

2. Gate fee

This is the charge for businesses to use the sites where the waste will be disposed of.

At a waste transfer station, waste disposal is usually charged per tonne – a minimum charge or weight may apply.

An approximate price for general mixed waste could be around £170 per tonne. Prices may vary depending on your business’ location and if you have an account or not with the waste disposal provider. You can find out more about typical gate fees in the annual Gate Fee Report produced by the charity Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Also, take into account the amount of time and fuel it’ll require for you to get the waste to the waste transfer station.

What is landfill tax?

Landfill tax applies for waste that is sent to landfill.

  • Different rates apply depending on whether your business is based in England, Wales or Scotland
  • It’s charged by weight and there are two rates
  • Inert waste is charged at the lower rate

Read the Gov.uk guide to landfill taxes for more information.

Factors affecting waste disposal prices

There are a number of factors that contribute to the cost of waste disposal. Here we outline some of the key areas to consider when working out how much funds to allocate for this business expense.

1. How much waste is to be collected

Firstly, consider how much waste your business produces and needs to be cleared. It makes sense that the more waste there is, the higher the price is likely to be.

It’s wise to check if the waste prices include loading and sweeping (in addition to collection and disposing) the waste.

2. Labour, travel and time costs

Sometimes, there can be additional costs that are associated with collecting waste, such as:

  • Congestion charge (for businesses based in London)
  • Parking fines
  • Labour costs
  • Time taken to collect the rubbish
  • Admin charges (such as paperwork or site visits)

3. How many people are in the waste disposal team

Generally, waste management services send two-person teams to collect rubbish. However, if it’s just one person this may take longer but be a cheaper option. Alternatively, more people may make for a quicker collection (but incur more labour charges).

4. If VAT is included

This should be clear, with prices quoted as inclusive or exclusive of VAT. This may or may not be relevant to your company, depending on your specific business situation.

5. How frequently the waste collection will occur

If you require commercial waste to be collected on a regular basis, this may incur different rates compared to one-off collections.

6. The type of waste being disposed of

Builders waste and hazardous waste are usually charged differently to standard commercial waste due to the way in which they must be carried and disposed.

Inert waste is rubbish such as rubble or debris.

Landfill waste describes the waste that cannot be recycled or otherwise treated and so is stored in the ground.

Green waste is rubbish from kitchens and gardens that is organic and can be used for compost.

Recyclable waste also refers to waste that can be reused or remade, such as paper or glass.

Scrap waste can be cardboard, metal or paper.

Hazardous waste is waste that can be dangerous or hazardous, and so has to be disposed of with a separate, specific process – examples of hazardous waste include asbestos or solvents.

Bulky items are objects such as mattresses, TVs or refrigerators, which take up a lot of space and may need to be disposed of separately.

Builders’ waste is the term for the rubbish produced from building or construction work.

Hazardous waste and other items (such as asbestos and tyres, for example) are often either not accepted by regular waste collection teams, or if they are, will incur a higher charge. It also depends on if the waste carrier has the necessary license to carry hazardous commercial waste.

Also, mattresses and other bulky items (like refrigerators, air conditioning units, TVs and monitor screens) are likely to be collected at a higher price point. This is useful to note if you run a hotel or bed and breakfast business, for example.

If both household and commercial waste will be in the same collection, then custom rates may apply, as commercial waste applies only to the waste produced from the part of your home that you use for business.

7. Where the waste will be collected from?

Waste disposal prices can be affected by location, depending on the different post codes. This is something to consider, especially if you’re trying to organise waste collection for your business that has multiple premises or sites.

Commercial waste collection in London

If your business is in London or has a London postcode that waste is to be collected from, check if the congestion charge (and other similar transport fees) are included in the price, or if they are charged as extra.

Also, prices will depend on if the waste is collected from your location or if you take it to a waste transfer station. Be sure that you have the relevant measures in place to allow you to transport waste safely and legally if you opt for the latter.

How will the waste be disposed of?

Remember that different fees apply not only based on location, but on how the waste will be disposed of. For example, landfill waste is taxed, and different rates apply for England, Wales and Scotland.

Tip: Avoid these charges and help the planet by opting for business recycling or reducing the waste instead. You could opt for a commercial waste management company that uses eco-friendly or green disposal methods. Take a look at our review of the best waste management companies to help you.

Which type of supplier is best for my business?

Opting to use a local, regional or national waste collection service each has its own pros and cons, including how much it’ll cost your business, so think about what type of supplier would be best suited to your business’ needs.

When does the waste need to be collected by?

The amount of notice time you provide, such as short notice with a need for immediate collection, or an ongoing regular collection, are both likely to be priced differently.

How is the waste described?

You need to provide descriptions of the waste your business produces – this is known as a Waste Transfer Note. If you provide inaccurate descriptions of waste (such as its size, type, or amount) this could result in additional fees upon collection.

Remember that waste disposal costs include the collecting and managing of waste, as well as the process and any other related costs, if applicable.

Best waste management companies

Company Best for Price range
CheaperWaste Fast set-up Charges are on a per lift, per month basis – contact provider
Biffa Areas covered Contact provider
Enviro Waste Sustainable disposal One cubic yard load is £97 plus VAT, increases with load amount

Read our guide to the best waste management companies to find out more.

Or, simply complete the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for commercial waste management.

Top tips for saving money on waste disposal

Do you want to cut costs when it comes to the price of waste disposal? Here, we offer our top tips to help you save on this aspect of business operations.

Tip #1

Measure the waste your business produces – you should understand how much waste is created and how much that amount costs to dispose of. Then, you can consider ways to reduce the amount, and therefore, the associated costs.

Tip #2

Conduct a waste audit – many commercial waste management companies can assess the waste your business produces and offer suggestions on how to most effectively process it. This gives you a professional perspective, and the opportunity to identify cost-saving steps your business can take.

Tip #3

Recycle as much as possible – not only is recycling good for the planet, it’s also a way to minimise the cost of waste disposal. This is because recycling waste, as opposed to sending it to landfill, often costs less.

Tip #4

Identify waste specific to your sector – certain types of waste are produced more heavily in particular sectors. For example, managing food waste is likely to be a high priority for hospitality businesses, while concrete and wood are likely to be the main types for a construction business. So look at how you can reuse, reduce or exchange the materials you use the most.

Tip #5

Involve your team – remember that cutting down on waste creation, and therefore the amount it costs to dispose of it, is not solely your responsibility. Ensure your team members receive training about how to minimise waste too.

What are the next steps?

From reading this article, you’ve learned more about waste disposal prices, including the different types of waste collection and their relevant costs.

We’ve also provided a guide to other aspects to consider, such as how your business’ location, the type of bins used and where the waste is disposed of can all contribute to the cost of waste disposal.

So where do you go from here? The prices on this page are a general guide – for more specific information related to your business’ requirements, fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for commercial waste management.

Waste disposal prices: The FAQs

Here, we answer some of the key questions about the cost of waste disposal.

How to find the cheapest waste collection services

If price is a priority, then it pays to shop around to find the provider that matches your budget. Be sure to check monthly or one-off collection costs, as well as review price lists for any additional charges, to help you compare the different offerings.

Waste disposal costs per ton in the UK: What you need to know

UK waste disposal is usually collected and priced on a per tonne basis, with prices varying based on the material type too. Plus, sending waste to landfill or recycling incurs different charges. It’s also possible to be charged by the truck load or cubic yards.

How to organise rubbish removal

It’s possible to take commercial waste to a waste disposal site yourself, providing you follow the correct procedures. Or, for a potentially quicker and easier process, you can use a commercial waste management company to do this for your business instead, whether on an occasional or ongoing basis.



Scarlett Cook attends and reports on many industry events for Startups.co.uk, particularly those relating to communication, equality and diversity in entrepreneurship.

Since joining the team in 2018, she has developed our telephone systems and business mobiles topics as well as ‘how to’ guides, with her work having been referenced by brands such as Hiscox. Previously, she has written for audiences across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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