Business Waste team’s work short-listed for Award

Yellow bin lorry with 'business waste' banner along the side drops waste material in a heap at a warehouse

The Highland Council operates one of the largest business waste services of any local authority, comprising some 6,000 customers located across the region. The team responsible for the service were delighted to be short-listed in the 2023 Highland Council Staff Recognition Awards.

The project was one of three short-listed under the category entitled – “A Resilient and Sustainable Council. Sponsorship for the awards was provided by Story Contracting, Technology One, Wipro, E J Parker Technical Services, Sustrans and J. Thomson Printers.

In short-listing the project, the judging panel recognised the positive approach to change staff have and their commitment to creating efficiency while improving delivery and performance.

In most areas, the Council uses a co-collection model, with business waste typically collected on the same round as household waste. This is highly cost-effective and optimises the collections in the rural areas. The sparsely populated rural geography of the Highlands means that, for many businesses, the Council’s service may be the only one on offer, and it therefore fulfils a critically important need, enabling businesses to fulfil their duty of care.

The income from the business waste collections bolsters the overall budget for household waste and recycling collections. In 22/23 income from business waste customers grew by approximately 15% as a result of a range of measures to transform processes, improve the customer experience and continue the targeted work to assist businesses to move to a more circular and low carbon business model.

Chair of the Communities and Place Committee, Councillor Graham MacKenzie said: “Given the current financial crisis facing the Council, maximising income is vitally important and the link between the business waste and household waste service is essential. I want to thank our small but hard-working team who are bringing about positive changes.”

As part of the Council’s transition from landfill disposal, the mixed waste collected from customers in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey and Skye & Lochalsh is now sent for disposal at an Energy Recovery Facility where it is processed to generate electricity which is exported to the National Grid.  

Energy recovery is not only a safe and cost-effective waste disposal method but is better for the environment and we recognise how important this will be for businesses wanting to reduce their carbon footprint going forwards.

Non-Domestic Rates do not include the collection of waste from businesses. Waste regulations require businesses to comply with their Duty of Care with regards waste. This means they have a responsibility to ensure their waste is stored, transported, recycled or disposed of in a way that does not harm the environment and that the costs for disposal of waste from businesses are borne by the waste producer and not Councils.

Measures to transform the service included:

  • Development and utilisation of a Customer Management System
  • Electronic, modern, paperless contract renewals documents
  • Significant reduction in administration time and resources
  • Automated processes - financial and customer facing
  • Improved billing and recovery
  • Improving the Customer Experience
  • Recruitment of experienced sales advisor to focus on delivering quality customer care.
  • Refocused Business Support and Operations roles to provide quality and efficient service delivery

Cllr MacKenzie added: “The team will continue to build on their work to further reinforce our strong position in the Highland business waste sector offering businesses a high quality, reliable and waste regulatory compliant waste and recycling collection service.”

To find out how the Council can help your business with waste and recycling, please email

Male dressed in suit stands to the right of a long pop up banner with title 'Business Waste'.

22 Jun 2023