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Waste disposal costs are rising – here’s why

The waste industry in the UK is having a difficult time, global markets have driven recycling revenues down, tax increases and levies threaten disposal routes, and the uncertainty of the market post-Brexit has all added to an already struggling market.

It has been well publicised how the world’s doors have closed to UK exported waste and recyclable materials, being at the forefront of sustainable solutions has been harder to keep up with than ever for UK businesses over the past 12 months.

Many businesses have been exposed to cost increases for the disposal and handling of its waste, as well as tumbling recycling rebates. In some areas of the UK, businesses have reportedly had no option but to pay for the disposal of their cardboard and paper recycling.

Government Taxes over the past 10 years have increased the strain on disposal costs, and a serious shortfall of infrastructure capacity of UK based waste to energy facilities are being blamed. The UK government are licensing more power plants than ever before, but ultimately, is it too little, too late? I guess we will have to find out.

The changing situation in the UK and the EU

A large percentage of the UK’s 32 million-plus tonnes of waste produced each year is sent for recovery through energy from waste plants. The UK has a small number of plants however, plants in Northern Europe are used to process waste into energy. Some countries in Northern Europe have now implemented additional taxes for plants turning waste into energy, these incineration taxes have impacted on UK disposal routes gate fees.

Cardboard and Paper

Recycling rates for the UK’s cardboard and paper have dropped by as much as 70% in 2019, as demand for our recycled material dried up, without new licenses being issued and recyclers opening their doors to the UK product, we can expect yet more reductions. Some parts of the UK have already seen rebates totally dry up, and some businesses are being charged for the removal of cardboard. Specification for recyclable cardboard has also increased during the last 12 months, putting pressure on recycling facilities to improve the grades of material they accept and process.

Helpful articles for you

We have done our research and put together a list of the articles we think will be the most helpful to you:

Cost of rubbish disposal to rise £1bn as landfill taxes increase

Landfill Tax: increase in rates

Dutch RDF import tax could see waste cost hike

Sweden introduces energy from waste tax on refuse derived fuel (RDF)

Dutch senate backs ‘RDF tax’ but court case looms

Sweden confirms EfW tax from April 2020

Quality push remains in falling cardboard market

Working through the worst of times (for cardboard recycling)