The realm of waste management has grown tremendously over the years, and turning into a multi-billion-pound industry for the two biggest companies. The United Kingdom, in particular, has seen its waste management sector blossom due to the ever-increasing demand for efficient, environmentally friendly waste disposal and recycling services.
This article delves into the biggest waste management companies in the UK, providing valuable insights into their operations, services, and how they are contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment.
There are a plethora of services offered by these waste management companies. These range from household waste collection, commercial and industrial waste management, construction and demolition waste recycling, to specialised waste treatment services. While some companies have a broad scope of services, others focus on niche areas, such as hazardous waste handling or electronic waste recycling.
Now, let's explore the top companies operating in the waste management sector in the UK, listed in order of their reported revenue. These are the biggest waste management companies UK citizens and businesses can rely on for efficient waste handling and recycling services.
List of The Biggest Waste Management Companies in the UK
1 – Veolia
The largest waste management company in the UK by revenue is Veolia, with a GBP 1,719 million revenue in 2022.
A French multinational company, Veolia's operations span various sectors including water management, energy services, and of course, waste management.
In the UK, the company's waste management services are comprehensive, catering to residential, commercial, and industrial clients. They handle general waste, recyclables, and hazardous waste, plus, they also offer services for the disposal and recycling of electronic waste.
Veolia's most significant revenue-earning site in the UK is the Pitsea Landfill in Basildon, Essex, which is also one of the largest landfills in Europe.
2 – Biffa
Biffa is one of the biggest waste management companies UK-wide and is generally rated the second largest with a GBP 1,440 million revenue in 2022. It is a well-recognised brand. Its services encompass everything from regular waste collection and recycling to specialised waste services, such as asbestos disposal and energy from waste.
Poplars Landfill Site, Lichfield Road, Cannock is a Biffa Landfill which also includes recycling and an anaerobic digestion plant.
3 – SUEZ
Next on our list is SUEZ, another French multinational. This company has a substantial presence in the UK's waste management sector, providing a wide range of services. SUEZ manages waste collection for households and businesses, operates recycling centres, and provides solutions for treating and disposing of hazardous waste.
SUEZ's Packington Landfill in Leicestershire is one of its most profitable sites, generating significant revenue due to its large capacity and state-of-the-art facilities.
Note: In 2022 SUEZ was bought by Veolia, but after a UK government investigation of the national interest for awarding future government contracts for what was to become such a dominant company in the sector, the merger of SUEZ UK was disallowed. As a result, SUEZ UK has been sold off as a separate UK trading entity. At the time of writing, and until new accounts are published, the exact revenue and thus “size” of the new “UK SUEZ” is not certain.
Viridor is another major player in the UK waste management industry. This company specialises in turning waste into energy, operating several Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities across the country. They also provide:
- waste collection services,
- recycling solutions, and
- handle hazardous waste disposal.
Viridor's Ardley Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Oxfordshire is its most lucrative site. The facility processes non-recyclable waste and converts it into renewable energy.
5 – FCC Environment
FCC Environment, formerly known as Waste Recycling Group Ltd, offers a broad spectrum of waste management services, including collection, recycling, and energy recovery. They also handle hazardous waste and provide street cleaning services.
Their highest revenue-earning site is the Eastcroft incineration facility in Nottingham, which converts waste to energy and has a significant waste processing capacity.
6 – Grundon
Grundon is a UK-based company offering a range of waste management services, including collection, recycling, treatment, disposal, and even recovery. Grundon's approach to waste management is centred on sustainability, focusing on turning waste into a resource where possible.
Their Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW) facility, jointly owned with Viridor, is their top revenue earner. It is one of the UK’s largest EfW plants, processing commercial and industrial waste from across the country and converting it into energy.
7 – Waste Management Inc.
Waste Management Inc. has to be mentioned here, but only to comment on its absence from the UK.
Although Waste Management Inc., an American company, has a significant presence in many countries globally, since its UK subsidiary was dissolved in 2015 it has not been active in the UK's waste management scene (See UK Company House data). Elsewhere the company provides a wide range of waste disposal and recycling services for various sectors, including residential, commercial, and industrial.
All the above provide a wide range of municipal, industrial, and commercial solid waste management services. Now we list the biggest companies in specialist waste management services.
Biggest Waste Management Companies in the UK in Specialist Waste Management Services
1 – Tradebe
Tradebe is an international company specialising in industrial waste management. Their services are primarily geared towards the treatment and recycling of industrial and hazardous waste.
Tradebe’s highest revenue site in the UK is thought to be their Fawley treatment plant in Hampshire, known for its advanced treatment processes for hazardous waste.
2 – Reconomy
Reconomy is a leading provider of outsourced waste management services in the UK. Their primary focus is on commercial and construction waste, providing comprehensive solutions to minimise waste and maximise recycling and recovery.
Reconomy doesn’t operate its own waste facilities; instead, it manages services through a network of external providers. Its revenue is derived mainly from the services it provides to its extensive client base across the UK.
Look out for more companies like this that will grow, with the circular economy, in the years to come.
3 – Cory Riverside Energy
Cory Riverside Energy specialises in turning London’s non-recyclable waste into a source of energy. Their operations are based on transporting waste via the River Thames to their Energy from Waste (EfW) facility, thus reducing the reliance on roads.
Their Belvedere EfW facility, which converts waste into electricity, is their highest-earning site and one of the largest operations of its kind in the UK.
4 – Wastecare
Established in the late 1980s, Wastecare has grown into one of the UK's leading waste management companies, providing a full range of waste disposal and recycling services. They offer waste collection, recycling, and recovery services, including specialist services for hazardous and electronic waste.
The company, which was formerly known as Silver Lining Industries, began operations in 1980 with the goal of recycling the trash from the photography, x-ray, and printing industries in order to reclaim silver.
Over the course of the company's history, they have undergone a process of progressive expansion and evolution, which has enabled them to recycle over 1,000 distinct waste streams coming from all commercial and industrial sectors, irrespective of volume, location, or kind.
They now have more than 400 employees, and each year they collect and recycle more than 60,000 tonnes of hazardous and complex trash on behalf of more than 20,000 clients located throughout the United Kingdom.
The company's highest revenue-earning site is its PackCare chemical treatment facility in Leeds, which offers bespoke waste solutions and secure destruction services for hazardous waste.
5 – Augean PLC
Augean PLC is known for its advanced hazardous waste services. Their services range from radioactive waste management, energy waste services, and hazardous waste disposal to complex industrial cleaning.
Augean’s highest revenue-earning site is the East Northants Resource Management Facility, which handles a variety of wastes including low-level radioactive waste, and hazardous waste.
6 – Cycle Link UK
Cycle Link UK, the international trading arm of Shanying International. Cycle Link, established in the US in 2007, is a comprehensive global supply chain service provider – one of the largest recyclable paper traders globally, specialising in paper recycling. They offer comprehensive paper waste management services for businesses of all sizes.
Its highest revenue-generating site is most likely its recycling facility in Rainham, Essex, where they process and recycle paper waste, reducing the demand for new paper production.
After receiving authorisation from the Environment Agency (EA), WasteCare has opened the first full-scale residential battery recycling plant in the United Kingdom.
It is now possible to recycle all of the wasted alkaline batteries in the United Kingdom at the state-of-the-art plant at Elland, West Yorkshire, which cost a total of £2 million to build. The facility has a processing capacity of 25,000 tonnes of household batteries.
7 – Andusia
Andusia is a specialist in the disposal of high-calorific waste. The company mainly deals with Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) and Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), providing waste solutions to UK businesses and then exporting the waste to European EfW plants.
Andusia, similar to Reconomy, doesn't operate waste facilities of its own, but its substantial revenue is derived from its RDF and SRF management services.
8 – Enva
Enva is a leading waste management company offering an extensive range of waste collection, resource recovery and recycling services. They manage different waste streams, including hazardous, non-hazardous, and recyclable waste.
Enva’s highest revenue site in the UK is their Nottingham facility, providing waste oil and workshop waste services.
Conclusion to “Biggest Waste Management Companies in the UK”
The waste management sector plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance and contributing to a healthier, cleaner environment.
The companies listed above – the biggest waste management companies UK wide – are at the forefront of this important industry. They handle millions of tonnes of waste each year, turning a significant portion into valuable resources and ensuring the remainder is disposed of in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
The increasing focus on sustainable practices, the transition towards a circular economy, and stringent waste management regulations have all played a role in shaping these companies and their services.
As we continue to generate waste, the importance of efficient and sustainable waste management cannot be overstated. It's not just about getting rid of waste; it's about transforming it into a resource, a source of energy, and a stepping stone towards a sustainable future.
The biggest waste management companies in the UK are demonstrating that with the right approach, the waste we generate doesn't have to be a problem.