Waste firms partner to prevent local recycling monopolies

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A group of six independent waste management firms have joined forces in a bid to try and prevent the proposal of local waste and recycling monopolies.  

Following the Government’s consultations to overhaul the waste system, cut plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy, Defra’s latest consultation proposed plans to improve recycling both from households and businesses.  

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While the six firms welcome this, the consultation raised some serious concerns among industry specialists, which has led to them coming together to provide their combined knowledge to ensure that Defra has a full understanding of the market.  

The firms include BPR Group, Cawleys, First Mile, Grundon, KP Waste and Simply Waste Solutions. 

With a combined turnover of more than £235m, and a combined collection of 1.2 million tonnes of waste annually, the groups’ clients often achieve a recycling rate of over 60%. 

This contrasts significantly to the static 45% rate achieved by local authorities and the national waste companies from households in England.  

From this, the firms believe that the skills, best practice and engagement activities to unlock these higher recycling rates have been overlooked from Defra’s initial consultation.  

The groups’ concern is that in the initial consultations, Defra only met a handful of national waste management companies, and none of the medium-sized regional firms that are “the bedrock of the industry”. 

As such, Defra’s understanding of the market is “skewed” and misses key information, ending in proposals, such as local monopolies, being put forward as a result of “non-existent problems”, said the firms.  

The group believes that there is “real danger” as economic policy in the last 40 years has recognised the damaging outcomes of these monopolies. A lack of motivation to innovate, a reduction in service quality, higher prices and structural inefficiencies are all associated with a single supplier to a market.  

A joint response to the Defra consultation has been submitted by the companies. 

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