The recycling industry in the UK continues to grow but England missed their targets for 2020 and has set ambitions new targets for 2025.

The UK Government has reset its targets for recycling municipal waste to achieve 65% by 2035, having missed the original targets set for 2020. This is a staged target and the interim target of 55% needs to be achieved by 2025.

This is an enormous industry in the UK with the two largest companies Veolia Environmental Services & Biffa turning over £3b annually between them in 2021.

The Chartered Institute of Waste Management which represents 5500 individuals and 250 Affiliate Companies across the UK and Overseas produced a report in March 2023, highlighting some of the challenges the Waste Management industry faces over the coming years.

In 2019 the Waste Industry employed 144,800, this is up on previous years with notable increases in the collection of non-hazardous waste and also up in the recovery of sorted materials.

Our recycling clients would concur with these increases, and that reflects the increases in the volumes of residential waste produced by households in the UK, which is up year on year for the last two years, with the average household generating 409 kilos annually. The good news is we are sending less biodegradable waste to landfill.

The UK generated 222 million tonnes of waste in 2018 with England being responsible for 84% of the UK’s waste, with Commercial and Industrial waste generating approximately 49 million tonnes. There are expected reductions in industrial waste collection, as industry starts to feel the effects of environmental and sustainability policies and government targets biting.

Unfortunately like many sectors in the UK, the waste industry has an ageing workforce, with almost 12% aged over 60 and it’s not managing to encourage young people to enter the sector, with only 5% of the workforce aged between 16-24 years old.

Over 60% of organisations who responded to a recent survey said they struggled to recruit for specific roles last year and the EU Skills forecasts the sector will have 89,000 vacancies between 2020-2029, with drivers and operatives being the main area of concern,

Our team at Axiom Personnel have experience in recruiting permanent employees and temporary employees to the Waste Management and Recycling industry and has long-term client relationships with placing operatives and drivers in London and Essex.