Andusia News

Posted on: 23rd Mar 2021

The Resilience of the Waste Industry

After a tumultuous 12 months the end is almost in sight. Under the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, from 21st June, England will return to something close to normal. Andusia take a look back at the past years events on waste management for what has proven to be a resilient industry and the future of RDF export.

As reported in data published by the Environment Agency, RDF exports fell by 37% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Several influences last year undoubtedly impacted these export levels, such as Dutch tax, but the significant factor was most certainly the coronavirus pandemic.

The Impact of Covid-19

This time last year the UK was plunged into uncertainty with the first of several national lockdowns, businesses and individuals had to adjust to a new ‘normal’, impacting most industries in some way, including the waste industry.

According to data reported by both Veolia and Suez UK, the amount of waste generated in commercial and industrial workplaces, unsurprisingly, drastically reduced by 50%. In contrast, with families at home, municipal waste increased by 20%.

The long term affects Covid-19 has had on changes in lifestyle are yet to be seen, however, Andusia believe the impact of Covid-19 on waste volumes will quickly dissipate and have already seen a small increase in the first 2 months of 2021. Expecting something similar to 2019 levels come Summer.

Due to Boris’ recent lockdown roadmap announcement, waste volumes will only continue to increase as a result of slowly expanding economic activity.

Simon Little, Commercial Director at Andusia, comments “There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Schools are now back; all retail and hospitality will open in April and the country is (hopefully) due to return to a ‘no restrictions’ outlook in June. Those still working from home could also see a phased return to the office this Summer. All increasing those much needed waste volumes for our industry.”

Dutch tax

In January 2020, a €31-per-tonne tax on the import of waste into the Netherlands was introduced – undoubtedly another factor behind the decline in RDF exports last year.

Although the Netherlands remains the largest off-taker of UK waste in mainland Europe (accepting 1.3 million tonnes of material from the UK in 2018 alone), the country took in just over half the RDF tonnes last year compared to 2019 figures.

The tax has faced debate since its introduction, with the industry strongly backing a new carbon tax in its place. A tax on CO2 omitted, aligning the waste industry with many others, wouldn’t see immediate effects for several years and would encourage investment into new technologies such as carbon capture.

Looking Forward

Andusia are confident the future of RDF export is bright. The UK is slowly returning to ‘business as usual’ and this only means waste volumes will rise. The demand for UK waste treatment has fast out-grown the available EfW plants in the UK. Current facilities are full to capacity and the best solution is to export to those countries that have a short-fall.

Simon Little ends “Ultimately RDF export will remain a key component of the overall aim to reduce waste to landfill for 2021 and further. The capacity in UK plants still lags a long way behind the volume of material that requires final treatment.

As a company, our strategy remains unaffected. We will continue to work with EfW plants across Europe whilst also developing UK market.”

Andusia are here to help

With waste volumes beginning to rise again, Andusia are here to help you. We offer a competitive, fully collected service of waste in curtain sliders, containers or walking floors, we work closely with a number of dependable hauliers and fulfil all the required paperwork. If you are a waste producer, we can help you.

Contact us today to discuss your waste requirements, call us on 01992-666257 or email us at