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During the 2014 Budget, the Chancellor announced that, as expected, the standard and lower rates of landfill tax would rise in line with inflation from April 2015 – from £72 per tonne to £80 per tonne. To put that into some kind of context, a standard 1100 litre refuse bin where all the contents go to landfill will now cost £5.20 to dispose of. For busy sites such as theme parks, retail centres, transport hubs, offices and others that find themselves faced with large quantities of waste they cannot necessarily influence at source, this represents an increasingly unwelcome cost. So what can owners of facilities do to offset the rise in landfill tax?

Ultimately, the best way to cut waste disposal costs is to not generate waste in the first place, and in a perfect world that’s what we would all do. But we don’t live in a perfect world and unfortunately for almost all organisations the generation of waste is not something that can be avoided. So the challenge is to identify ways in which the increasing cost can be offset. There will be other costs to an organisation’s waste management programme beyond the actual landfill tax (which, let’s remember, only applies to waste that cannot be recycled or reused), and here is where we can look to make savings.

Firstly we can look to position the waste management process as close as possible to where the waste is generated, so the people generating waste play a part in management. We can also look at using improving waste technologies such as power balers that are ideally suited for positioning in key areas. These help to alleviate the time consuming process of sorting and packing cardboard in traditional skips. Power bailers also reduce the number of skips needed, which means fewer collections and therefore less expense for the organisation. There are other new technologies arriving that further relieve the effort and cost of waste management. Consumer generated waste at busy locations such as theme parks, airports, shopping centres and supermarkets is extremely time consuming and expensive to deal with, but if not dealt with promptly can result in a serious litter problem.

The latest ‘smart bins’ are able to dramatically improve the situation. These bins feature waste compaction systems which means they can hold up to seven times the amount of waste of a similarly sized conventional bin. Not only that, but they also have a range of other smart features that make life easier for both users and operators. For example, they are able to communicate when they are full. This allows the site management to designate resources more efficiently. Instead of people randomly emptying bins regardless of whether they are empty or full, operators only need to be dispatched when the bin says it’s full. In this way these new smart bins substantially reduce the time and inconvenience otherwise needed to empty conventional waste bins in busy locations. So by developing a sensible waste management strategy and using the latest technologies, it is easy for an operation to offset the increased cost of landfill tax. Now if only we can completely avoid that as well…