Another 70 local workers were told today that they are to lose their jobs, as Country Waste Management, the recycling company based on Beddington Lane, opted to lay off its entire staff because of the 2,500 per cent increase in landfill tax introduced earlier this year.
The Croydon-based family business has been operating since 1997. “Over the past 15 years we have built a reputation for delivering environmentally friendly solutions for all your waste management requirements that meet ever more demanding waste targets,” the company described itself on its website.
“We did more than just rent out skips. We would take them back and treat the contents, turning it into material that reduced the volume of waste,” one employee, shocked by today’s announcement, told Inside Croydon.
“We were a recycling company, yet we’ve been put out of business by this government.”
Country Waste Management was taken over in 2007 by One Fifty One, a Dublin-based multi-national. Sources close to the business confirmed that the hike in UK landfill tax in May, from £2.50 per tonne for inactive waste to £64.50 for every tonne sent for landfill, “had killed the business” as far as Country Waste Management was concerned.
“It’s hard to see how you can run a legitimate recycling business, where everything is done by the book and legally, that it can ever be viable with those levels of landfill tax,” a source familiar with the situation said.
“There’s got to be a real danger that with the landfill levy set at £64.50 per tonne, fly-tipping will increase drastically, and the amounts of legitimate and proper recycling will decrease.”
The closure of Country Waste Management is not directly connected with the possible siting of the Waste Incinerator on a nearby site at Beddington Lane, although the rapid increase in the costs of sending waste to landfill is among the reasons given by Croydon and Sutton councils for the need to burn material, rather than find other ways of disposing of it.
Country Waste Management had sought to make a business from the growing demand from the public, and public bodies, to recycle waste materials, or at least dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. They invested heavily in hardware, including a 40-strong fleet of lorries and tractors for the purpose, one of the biggest in south-east England, that allowed them to offer a recycling rate in excess of 90 per cent.
The local unemployment figures continue to soar. The 70 job losses – “we were told this morning, everyone’s losing their jobs” – follows Friday’s announcement that the Allders department store is to close, and with it nearly 1,000 jobs are to go. Earlier this year, Nestle and Bank of America announced that they would be moving their offices out of Croydon.
And if you think you’ve noticed a rapid increase in fly-tipping of waste in Croydon already this year, now you have an idea why that might be.
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
- Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Waste Management stock risks 10-15 pct drop – Barron’s (uk.reuters.com)