Industry sector: Business services

Waste collection: What type of waste will you collect

There are many different types of waste that you might decide to collect. Your market research may have helped you to identify a particular demand in your area. Some businesses concentrate on collecting just one or two particular types of waste (for example, hazardous liquids and effluent), whilst others collect a wider range of less specialised waste (for example, garden waste, builders' rubble, household items and so on). A browse on or similar directory will soon give you an idea about the types of waste being collected in your area.

You might decide to collect one or more of the following:

  • general household waste and garden waste
  • old garages and sheds
  • general building waste and rubble
  • office waste (including paper, toner cartridges and old PCs)
  • confidential waste for shredding or destruction
  • paper and cardboard
  • plastic
  • glass
  • fluorescent tubes, energy-saving light bulbs
  • hazardous liquids (including septic tank emptying)
  • clinical/healthcare and 'offensive' waste (from hospitals, clinics, vets)
  • chemical waste (from laboratories, photographic shops and factories)
  • old electrical equipment, computers, monitors and laptops
  • scrap metal including old machinery, off cuts and broken equipment
  • batteries
  • tyres
  • used oil (from garages or factories)
  • agricultural waste (such as used pesticides)
  • asbestos (you will need a special licence to collect this)
  • animal by-products (for example from food products manufacturers or the catering industry)

Bear in mind that to collect certain types of waste, you'll need specialist equipment - for example tankers for draining septic tanks or removing liquid waste such as used oil. If asbestos waste is removed, it must be transported in a sealed container and protective equipment must be used when handling it. As extra equipment is required you may find that these types of service are less commonly offered in your area so there is strong demand for them. You must decide whether the demand is enough to justify the extra equipment costs involved.

For most other types of waste, large vans, skips, pick-up trucks or lorries are usually sufficient.

Extra services

You might decide to offer extra services in order to attract more trade. For example, you might offer a house, garage or site clearance service. You could offer to demolish and remove old sheds and garages. You could provide waste containers and recycling bins for offices, shops, factories, hospitals or schools and empty them on a regular basis. These might be used for collecting old batteries, clinical waste, bottles, chemical containers or paper.