Beyond Brexit: What’s in store for waste?

Now that Brexit has come to pass, what does the future hold for waste management? At this stage it’s hard to be sure, but having had lots of discussions with counterparts across the UK waste industry, there is a feeling that Brexit may not actually be as impactful on the short or long term as some may think.

The one possible effect we see is the cost of exporting RDF (refuse-derived fuel) to Europe with the decrease in value of the British pound, but we think that’s likely to be short term. In fact, we can report that for us, it has made no difference to date.

The UK waste industry is strong and is advancing well with new technology mainly driven by the private sector. There is still a fair amount of consolidation happening: a good thing for ensuring better load density on rounds, less CO2 produced and more investment opportunities.

Beyond Brexit, the South West waste industry is facing some huge changes following the closure of several landfill sites – some of which have been brought forward well ahead of expectations. This has resulted in a shortage in capacity to accept commercial and construction waste, with many transfer stations simply overwhelmed with waste and unable to accept any more. It’s a tough call to predict these events in terms of the right time to invest in order to increase capacity, but it seems many in the South West have been caught out.

At Devon Contract Waste we played the long game and invested early to create more capacity with future business growth and our expanding client base in mind. This has enabled us to remain competitive and control our costs in an environment where other companies are facing hugely increased gate fees at the remaining landfills and transfer stations. As landfills close, the pressure on existing sites will increase and operators will take advantage of the scarce resource they hold – naturally these will fill up quickly, pushing disposal options further away into Somerset and beyond.

The number of waste to energy plants are increasing, however they do not hold much capacity beyond the local authority contracts they were built for, and are only suitable for light commercial and domestic waste. Therefore these plants and are not the one stop answer for all waste streams, unlike our services.

2016 is going to be a challenging year for the waste industry, but our clients can have the peace of mind that their business waste will be completely taken care of at Devon Contract Waste, as so little of the waste we process can’t be sent for recycling after being sorted at our unique Envirohub.

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