B3.3 The Cost of Waste


Waste oil from nearly 3 million car oil changes in Britain is not collected. If collected properly, this could meet the annual energy needs of 1.5 million people.


There are many pseudonyms for waste. Whether you refer to something as a by-product, unsalable defect, effluent or off-cut, it is all waste.

When considering the cost of waste disposal, most people think of the landfill charges, skip hire and haulage charges. However, this is only a small proportion of the true costs of waste.

The true cost of waste is generally considered to be 10 times the disposal costs!

This is because the indirect costs of waste are often overlooked. If you damage a material and put it in a skip, you will have to pay for the disposal charges of that waste. However, you will also have to replace that damaged item, buying it in new. There are then associated transport costs and the labours costs resulting from the time taken to place the order. In some circumstances, production could be delayed whilst waiting for the replacement item, which could have considerable cost implications.

The ratio of direct to indirect costs is commonly considered with an analogy to an iceberg. The visible part of the iceberg represents the direct costs, which are 10% of the whole iceberg. The remaining 90% of the iceberg is unseen beneath the water, representing the indirect costs.