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Working With Your Waste Contractor

The cost of waste disposal is increasing, and there is further pressure from legislation for
businesses to manage and separate different types of waste. Once you have undertaken a waste audit to identify the type and quantity of waste you produce and the material that you can recycle, you can take steps to reduce waste and raw material use. The waste hierarchy will you help set priorities for managing and eliminating waste before it is produced.

Your suppliers may be able to help you reduce packaging materials, some companies can offer a take back service for packaging materials for re-use, or you could discuss alternative packaging methods.

Choosing a waste and recycling contractor

Commercial / trade waste and recycling collection services may be provided by the local authority, or can be procured directly from a private waste and recycling contractor. Be sure to select a service that best suits the range and type of waste and recycling that your business produces. 

Your waste management company could help you to recycle more, by providing a recycling service for dry recyclable materials and a food waste collection service that is suited to your individual business requirements. This might include separate collection of paper, card, plastic, glass, cans, food and electrical items.

Your waste and recycling contractor can help you manage the residual waste you produce, as well as reducing the cost of waste disposal. If you haven’t already got data on how much waste you produce your waste contractor could help you collate this and contribute to ongoing monitoring of savings. 

For every waste or recycling material stream you should receive documents telling you what and how much has been removed from the premises. Wastes are coded using European Waste catalogue (EWC) codes and volumes may be given in tonnes or bin size. For further guidance on ‘Duty of Care’ documentation (waste transfer or consignment notes) click here

Don’t forget, waste should be handled and stored safely and securely in suitable, clearly labelled containers that prevent leakage, contamination or spoiling. 

Working with your waste contractor to identity opportunities to cut costs

In order to establish whether your current, or intended, service provision is tailored for your needs, is compliant and offers value for money, a number of key questions can be asked:

  • How much does the service cost?

Ask your account department for invoices, and obtain a copy of the contract that provides details of your current service arrangements. Check the contract to determine if additional fees are charged for contract termination, bin rental, or overfilled bins, or missed / contaminated collections. 

The cost of waste collection is linked to the type and destination of waste. Collection of recycling is usually charged at a lower cost than general waste, providing an incentive to recycle more. 

  • Is the contract charged by weight or number of collections?

Understanding the cost implications of each type of charging structure can help you maximise savings and environmental benefits from contracts. If there is a charge by weight, ensure that the waste contractor has adequate weighting equipment, and charges are not made on weight estimates.

  • How often are bins collected?

Agree the frequency of collection and the time of day when the collection will be made. If there are any restrictions to accessing your site, the contractor will need to know this. Work with your contractor to understand how your waste is managed, where it goes for further sorting, recycling or treatment.

  • Are bins full when collected?

You could be paying for empty or partially empty bins to be disposed of. Consider removing or reducing the number of waste bins around your premises. There may be seasonal variation in the amount of waste produced, flexibility in contracts will allow you to increase or reduce collection frequency on request. 

You could consider compacting bulky waste streams such as cardboard using a baler on hire or purchased. Separating recyclable materials can prevent the material becoming contaminated and can increase rebate opportunities. Separating food waste for recovery is highly recommended wherever the service is available. 

  • Is my waste valuable?

Are there any rebates/discounts/more favourable rates available for segregating recyclable waste for separate collection for example cardboard? Your waste and recycling may attract a financial market value that can offset the cost of collection by the contractor, or even provide you with an income.

Information on the value of recyclable waste can be found at Lets Recycle.

  • Does your contractor offer complementary additional services?

Some contractors can help you to help manage or reduce your waste by providing on site waste audits or waste prevention planning. They may also offer communications materials and posters to put on bins to help identify what can and can’t be put in bins. Contractors may also offer equipment for bulking or baling materials, or services that allow you to identify, measure and monitor waste produced.

  • Finally, is the waste and recycling contractor registered? 

You should be confident that your waste is being handled on your behalf legally and in an environmentally responsible manner. Ask your waste contractor how and where the waste is treated or disposed of. 

You must only pass your waste to, or have it collected by an authorised person. Anyone who collects and transports your waste must be a registered carrier of controlled waste. A registered waste carrier should be able to produce a Certificate of Registration on request to show that they are licenced. Businesses should check the registration expiry date on these certificates and should note that a photocopy does not adequately provide evidence of registration.

Business Wales Helpline

03000 6 03000

Lines are open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg.
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