Comparing the costs of waste treatment options in the UK

12th September 2019

This survey examines gate fees charged to local authorities in the UK for municipal waste recycling, recovery, treatment and disposal options. It aims to assist local authorities in making better informed decisions about waste management options and to benchmark what they might be expected to pay.

Key findings
The single price range with the most gate fees is £5 to £10/tonne
Wales and Northern Ireland experience higher median gate fees and minimum gate fees than England, potentially due to relative market size
83% of respondents expect gate fees to increase in the future

Increasing efficiency in the waste management market is key to supporting local authorities make informed decisions on waste and recycling management options. The aim of the gate fee survey is to improve efficiency in the waste management market by sharing information and increasing price transparency. The data for this report was gathered between November and December 2018, and covers the 2018 calendar year.

This survey is based on interviews with three groups: local authorities, (including unitary, waste collection and waste disposal authorities); private sector operators of waste management facilities; and senior managers of large waste management companies operating within the UK market.

The interviews confirmed several factors, evidenced in the report:

Gate fees to local authorities are continuing to increase

The market is moving towards a fixed gate fee plus commodity price adjustments, to minimise the risk to the operator

Contracting is getting more sophisticated, with a trend to separate MRF processing and commodity sales requirements managed in separate contracts

The market is moving towards price reviews on a monthly, 3 monthly or 6 monthly basis, to take into account fluctuations in commodity prices

Contamination is a difficult issue, and contracted contamination limits are reducing as operators try to secure new markets and prices for the recyclates they generate.

Commercial waste gate fees

Given the expected growth in non-household recycling under the Circular Economy Package and new Resources and Waste Strategy, we have also collected commercial waste gate fees for the first time. Read the report, Comparing the costs of alternative waste treatment options for commercial waste.

Interactive map

We have also provided a Tableau data visualisation, which enables you to view the gate fees data on a dashboard which can be filtered by region and by facility type.