Big increases if you compare skip hire prices in London & the UK

It’s been a very interesting last few days in the world of waste following the recent HMRC announcement about landfill tax. Their decision to classify ‘recycling fines’ as landfill has resulted in some big increases in skip prices as waste operators struggle to pass on the additional cost of disposal to their customers.

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Skip hire protests & petition

The skip hire industry is not taking it lying down. Protests outside Parliament over the landfill tax changes, threats of further skip lorry protests during the Jubilee, a letter to Government, and a petition to reverse the landfill tax decision which at last count had over 1612 signatures. Given these efforts, the growing press coverage (see letsrecycle, The Sun) and the fact that the Environment Agency itself issued a statement that the HMRC ruling, whilst to be applauded, would be better introduced in a more phased manner, I’d be surprised if there isn’t some sort of postponement. A six month delay would seem the very least that is needed for operators to adjust skip prices in an orderly manner. But who knows? The sad fact is that there seem to be so many parts of society being squeezed these days that you need a very large voice to be heard.

So how much have skip prices increased?

Compare skip hire prices today with what they were just a couple of weeks ago, and some of the skip price changes are striking. In London and the M25 region in particular, for a standard builders skip many are double the price they were two weeks ago. This reflects just how many of the commercial tips in and around the Capital generate a high percentage of fines in the way they process waste, and how much investment will be required if they have to change this.

Compare skip prices outside London and you see a more mixed picture. Some skip companies have so far held their old prices and others seem to have increased their prices by around 30-40%.

Shift from flat rates to variable rates

Along with price hikes, there seems to be a growing number of skip companies switching from charging a flat rate to charging a variable rate based on weight. In other words, a fixed fee for delivery and collection of the skip (for example, £100) and then a charge on top for every tonne of waste put in it (for example, £100 per tonne). This structure raises several practical issues, not least customers not knowing in advance how much a skip will cost until the skip lorry has collected it and the contents weighed. However, it has the huge benefit to the skip operators of covering them for the actual costs of disposal.

More to come

Based on conversations with the skip industry through our sister skip price comparison site, skipandbin.com, and with the commercial tips AnyJunk uses around the UK, unless the HMRC delays its decision, we would expect further skip hire price increases to come, particularly outside London. In the longer term however, prices should fall back from very high levels as, to remain competitive, waste processors shift away from equipment that creates high amounts of fines waste (for example, http://www.ultraplantltd.com/ and http://www.digacrusher.com/) and also clients are encouraged to segregate their waste more prior to collection.

Photo (cc): Sandwell Council

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