No matter what kind of business you run, one of the most important parts of your daily operations is working out what to do with your waste. Commercial waste, also known as business or trade waste, can take many forms, from packaging to food waste and even by-products, and they all need to be dealt with properly or you could risk having to pay fines and penalties. Disposing of your commercial waste improperly can even lead to legal action, and your business could be forced to close.
However, commercial waste disposal regulations can be confusing and it’s often difficult to know exactly what your responsibilities involve. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the key elements of commercial waste management to help you work out what solutions are right for your business.
What is commercial waste?
Commercial waste refers to rubbish produced by any business from most industries, from retail to construction to agriculture and beyond. Sources of commercial waste include anywhere from an office to an industrial park. If you run a business from home, any waste you produce from that side of things is classed as commercial waste too.
Commercial waste management differs from household waste because it is not collected by the local council. It is your company’s responsibility to organise and keep track of waste collection as part of your Duty of Care, and you must complete a waste transfer note for each unit removed from your property to prove it’s been disposed of correctly.
Every business should conduct a waste audit to help identify what types of commercial waste you produce, as different classifications will require sorting so that they can be accurately dealt with by your chosen waste management collection company.
Your waste audit should include the following steps:
- Planning how to educate your staff to dispose of waste properly.
- Organising how you will sort and store your waste, including ordering your bins.
- Creating a waste disposal plan and choosing your carrier.
- Working out how to reduce costs, for example by recycling more and sending less to landfill.
Reviewing these steps regularly can help you have more control over your waste and allow you to identify issues quickly and make any necessary changes. For example, if you start to produce more than usual, you can adapt your methods to cope with the excess, or work out ways to cut down how much you produce.
Commercial waste types and classifications
As a business you’ll need to sort any waste you generate into outdoor waste receptacles designed for commercial use. It can help to colour code these bins to make sure each waste type is going to the right place. Waste types and classifications include:
- General: This includes all non-toxic, non-recyclable waste.
- Dry mixed recycling: Paper, cardboard, recyclable plastics, tins, and cans.
- Glass: All recyclable glass waste including glass bottles and jars.
- Food: All food except animal by-products, which includes carcasses and large bones.
- Clinical: Sharp items such as needles and blades, as well as swabs and dressings.
- Hazardous: Chemicals, flammables, and other dangerous substances.
- Sanitary: Washroom waste including nappies and feminine hygiene products.
- Confidential: Documents and other secure information that is or needs shredding.
- Construction: Bricks and other building materials from renovations and demolitions.
After your waste audit, you should have a good idea of how much waste your business generates, and you can move onto to ordering the right size bin to cope with that amount. At SkipAndBins, we provide 240l, 360l, 660l, and 1000l wheelie bins to suit all kinds of waste types and businesses, plus 8-yard and 12-yard FELs designed to hold large amounts of waste. So, you’ll only ever need to buy the right size bin for the amount of commercial waste you produce.
Depending on what your business does, you might need to organise different carriers for your various classes of waste. Outside of the waste types listed above, you may also have to make alternative arrangements for other things like bulky commercial waste collection that ordinary trucks won’t be able to pick up. For these, you might want to consider hiring a 8-yard or 12-yard skip.
Where can I tip commercial waste?
To regularly dispose of commercial waste yourself in England, you’ll have to register as a carrier and acquire a waste carriers’ licence. These permits are usually free if you only produce a small amount of waste, but if your waste output is in the ‘upper tier’ or you produce certain kinds, like hazardous waste, this will incur a charge.
If you have already done this step and you want to know where to take your commercial waste, you need to be aware that dumping commercial trade waste at a household waste dump is illegal and you will need to find a commercial waste drop off or disposal unit instead.
Otherwise, it’s usually much easier to use a commercial waste management service from a carrier who can collect your waste as often as you need it. Any waste collected can then be recycled, reused, incinerated or buried at landfill in accordance with government guidelines, which are designed around environmental considerations.
How much does commercial waste collection cost?
It may surprise you to learn that business tax does not cover waste collection. This is why your local authority doesn’t dispose of your waste for you like it does with domestic waste. So, you must pay commercial waste collection costs to your chosen carrier on top of your business rates (or register as a waste carrier to dispose of it yourself).
Commercial waste bin prices and collection costs are determined by how much waste you produce, what category it falls into, and where you are in the country, plus government tax rates. Taxes account for the bulk of the cost of waste disposal and over half of the collection cost, so it can be difficult for waste management companies to bring prices down or offer significant discounts. Landfill taxes — which contribute towards billing costs — are also subject to annual rises, with the last rise coming into effect on 1 April 2021.
However, attempts to circumvent these rates will end up costing you more in fines and penalties, plus legal fees if you are caught committing an offence. So, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and pay to dispose of your waste in the proper way.
At SkipsAndBins we offer a broad range of hiring options, from one-off skip hire to low-cost contracts, and even pay-as-you-go subscriptions. Our 12-month contracts are the best value for money for long term business waste solutions, but our contract-free pay as you go option allows you to cancel your subscription any time you like. This is ideal for pop-ups and small businesses, companies that don’t produce much waste, or one-off waste disposals.
Our vast range of skip and bin hiring options means you can tailor your waste collection and find the deal that works best for your business, as not every establishment will produce the same amount of waste at the same rate. Our website is designed to be easy to use, but if you’re not sure which option will be the most cost-effective, our team will be able to help you work it out.
It is part of your Duty of Care as a business owner to sort, store and dispose of your waste properly, plus keep waste transfer notes for each unit removed on file for 2 years minimum. If you fail to check if your waste carrier is registered to dispose of waste, or if you allow the waste carrier to dispose of your waste illegally, you are committing a crime and may incur a fine or penalty.