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Business Waste Collection: An Essential Guide

24.02.21

Business waste collection may feel like a necessity more than something you want to give a lot of research to but done well the right service can help you to save money and time whilst also making your business more ethical and appealing to your customers.

We hope our Essential Guide to Business Waste Collection can bring everything you need to know about this business decision in one place to help you make an informed choice to benefit your business.

What is business waste collection?

Everyone produces waste but as a business owner you will have more obligations to ensure you’re following legislation for your business waste collection.

You will need to ensure waste is collected and disposed of properly so it is important that you understand the implications of not having a reliable and/or legal waste collection service.

Although business waste collection may not appear to be a big outgoing for your company, done wrong with shortcuts, waste can have very expensive implications.

Many organisations underestimate how much waste costs them; it could be as high as 4% of turnover. The true cost of waste isn’t limited to the charges for disposal, it also includes wasted raw materials, energy and labour, which can be between five and 20 times more than the cost of disposal.

There are various responsibilities for a company to be compliant and dispose of its waste correctly, for example the Environmental Agency requires a Duty of Care in that Controlled Waste Transfer Notes must be in place for all waste transfers and if legislation is not followed, especially in the case of fly tipping, this could result in big fines and more overall costs to the waste producer.

What are the differences between business waste collection, commercial waste, and industrial waste?

In the UK there are different requirements and legislation for waste produced by businesses compared to the waste produced by households. Although all classed as municipal waste under EU rules, in the UK we divide the household, commercial and industrial waste (HCI) category into either household (H) or commercial and industrial (C&I) waste.

Business waste collection, commercial waste and industrial waste is mostly the same and would be categorised using the appropriate EWC code, with some sectors and waste types having their own category in the code book. For example waste from Agriculture, Horticulture, Aquaculture, Forestry, Hunting and Fishing, Food Preparation and Processing has its own unique set of EWC codes for certain wastes that the sector produces, whereas ‘Waste Packaging’ from all business types has its own section in the EWC code book. This will continue unless UK legislation is changed after Brexit as EWC codes are EU derived. This is because in large parts of Europe the local government regions tend to be responsible for more of the collection of both domestic and business waste collection unlike in the UK.

What are my waste responsibilities?


A company’s waste responsibilities can be legal and moral.

Legally, you need to ensure waste is collected by a registered waste carrier with a valid waste carriers licence and that the waste is disposed of legally. A record of the waste transfer in the form of a Controlled Waste Transfer Note, which can be per load or per annum in the form of an annual season ticket, must be obtained.

If your waste is not disposed of legally and it is tracked back then you will be fined as well as the ‘waste carrier’.

Businesses also have a legal duty to ensure that the waste hierarchy has been applied to their business waste collection so that they reduce, reuse, recycle or recover as energy where possible before disposal at landfill.

Morally, a company should focus on continuing to recycle to not only ensure they are fulfilling their legal duty to the waste hierarchy but the environment. Some waste management companies supported their customers during lockdown, therefore continued support for one another after lockdown would be the right thing to do for both parties.

Did you know?

Every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees.

How to choose a service?

Choosing the right business waste collection service can ultimately save you money.

If your company produces a lot of heavy waste you may find yourselves paying excess weight charges. Not what you want right?

This could be down to having things like heavy food waste or glass in your general bin. A better and more environmentally friendly option is to have a food waste or recycling bin if you have the room. This will result in making your waste more sustainable and make excess weight charges very unlikely, saving your company money.

There are various different types of business waste collection you can have depending on what sector you operate in.

What commercial waste stream should I be using?

Dry Mixed Recycling
A simple solution for businesses to recycle, dry mixed recycling (DMR) is collected all together without the need to separate each individual material.

DMR collects paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminium and is collected by our teams and taken to a material recycling facility (MRF) for sorting.

General waste
General waste is the waste we produce that cannot be recycled and is free from hazardous materials.

It is better and cheaper to have both a general waste and recycling bin for your business waste collection instead of just a general waste bin(s). If you don't have the space for this then the next best solution is to ensure that your general waste is processed so that any residue goes for energy from waste (EfW) for energy recovery.

Food waste
Throwing food into your general bin can lead to it being incinerated for energy or in some areas ending up in landfill where it rots and produces the damaging greenhouse gas, methane.

A food waste only collection, separate from general or mixed waste, can help to offset these damages to the environment by processing leftovers at Anaerobic Digestion or In Vessel Compost facilities to produce good quality soil improver or fertiliser and to generate electricity that is fed back into the national grid. Therefore this solution for business waste collection is higher up the waste hierarchy pyramid than general waste disposal.

Glass collection
Separate glass collections are perfect for pubs and bars. We provide a fully recyclable glass collection service across the North East to collect it separately to DMR collections.

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reprocessed with no loss of quality however bars, restaurants and pubs currently throw away over 129,000 tonnes of glass every year that isn’t recycled. Data from Recycle Now shows that the addition of waste glass (known as cullet) from recycling collections in the glass manufacturing process, substantially reduces the energy requirement and decreases CO2 emissions compared to using virgin materials.

WEEE Recycling
If your company produces electrical waste you will need to dispose of it through a dedicated waste stream which can offer the safe storage of batteries, fluorescent tubes, light bulbs and electrical items such as small and large domestic appliances.

Something to note: Most people think they can throw batteries and old electrical items into their recycling or general waste bin but this is in fact unsafe and against the rules for the collection and disposal of commercial waste. The recent Take Charge campaign has been raising awareness of the dangers of old electricals and batteries. The Environmental Services Association found that in just one year, between April 2019 and March 2020, nearly 260 fires were started by Zombie Batteries in recycling or waste management facilities in the United Kingdom.

Once you have found the right business waste collection service for you the bins will go out and everything else will run smoothly whilst also making sure your business is making the most of its waste and being as sustainable as possible.

Hopefully J&B Recycling has helped you to understand business waste collection in more depth.

Want to find out more about the business waste collection services we provide in the North East? Trust J&B Recycling’s business waste collection service. You can find out about our services here and get a free quote.

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