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Dry Mixed Recyclables

What size wheelie bin is right for your business waste?

Posted in Services
On 06 Aug 2020
By Jessica Keynes
No matter if you’re a new business just starting or a long-standing entrepreneur, regularly evaluating and understanding your business waste and how to store and dispose of it is an important element that might become overlooked in time. Regularly overfilled bins can lead to additional charges by your waste operator or even fines from your council, while underutilised containers are costing you money where simple savings could be made. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to manage your commercial waste is to use a waste operator but with many offering a large range of waste containers, which size wheelie bin is right for your business?

The simple answer is… it depends.

There is no one answer that can definitively assess what size bin is right for your business as it depends on these four factors:

  1. How much waste is your business creating
  2. The type of waste produced
  3. How frequently collections are scheduled
  4. The space you have available for storage

How much waste is your business creating?

If you are a business owner, no one knows your business better than you but if you haven’t assessed your businesses waste in a while a simple audit (Biffa offers a free waste audit) will demonstrate how much was is being produced. It may also be a good opportunity to see where waste can be avoided (Biffa can also help with that too!)

What type of waste is produced?

As well as the volume of waste, it’s also important to account for the type of waste your company produces. Restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses have significantly more glass recycling than retail businesses and would, therefore, require a larger single-stream container to manage that waste, whereas office may only need one, small recycling bin for a mixture of recyclable materials alongside a small general waste bin.

How frequently are collections scheduled?

It may seem that a small waste container would be a more economical option but if your waste container is quickly becoming full requiring more frequent collections, it may be worth investing in a larger container especially if the waste can be stored for extended periods such as dry recycling. However, food waste will need more frequent collections to avoid unpleasant smells or infestations but if you find you’re not utilising the volume of your container, a smaller option might be available.

Ensure there is enough space for storage

A final consideration when deciding the right size waste bin for your business is where it will be stored.

  • Is there an area large enough to accommodate a large bin and is it accessible from the main road so your waste collector can feasibly offload the rubbish into the truck?
  • Is the area where you intend to store your outdoor bin close to your business site so that you can easily transfer your indoor waste?
  • Will the waste container obstruct public access or in a dangerous location for your team?

Having these questions answered will help guide you and your waste operator towards ensuring the right size and type of container is available to you.

How Biffa can help

Biffa offers a free waste audit of your business to help you decide which containers are right for your business’s size, industry and production but if you want a little more information before you get started, here are some tips on assessing the potential waste needs of your business.

Look at your competitors

A simple assessment of other local businesses in the same industry and scale will help you identify the general volume and requirements of your business.

  • How many waste containers do they have? Is there one for recycling and a general waste?
  • Consider if their bins are regularly full, would a larger or additional containers be more suitable?
  • Are the containers underutilised and would benefit from smaller bins in multiple waste forms, such as a bin for food, glass and general waste?

Popular waste containers within your industry

Two and four-wheeled bins are popular choices across multiple business sectors from manufacturing to hospitality. Below is a general guide to popular bin sizes within industries:


1100 litre: The large capacity and security of this bin make it one of the most popular containers for outdoor storage of waste for the hospitality industry. The size of this bin makes it ideal for large volumes of single-stream waste including glass or food recycling.


1100 litre / Front end loaders: Manufacturers producing a product often have large amounts of waste, such as off-cuts of material or packaging. A combination of 1100-litre wheelie bins to separate waste streams or one front end loader is a popular choice for manufacturers to recycle material and keep waste costs down.


Bags / 1100 litre / Front end loaders: Large, four-wheel bins are also a popular choice for bigger retail operations as they are ideal for storing bulky waste such as cardboard and other packing material separate from containments and ready for recycling. While smaller retailers may only require a bag service, often used in areas that do not allow bins to be stored on the street.


Bags / 240 litre: Bag collections are an alternative to a bin and provide a vital role in some areas where bins are not allowed on the footpaths, such as in many areas of London. A 240-litre wheelie bin is the size of the well-known household wheelie bin and is ideal for offices who produce little waste or small volumes of paper waste. A combination of 240-litre bins is a popular choice for larger office spaces for the division of waste streams including paper, cardboard, food, and plastic bottles.

View Biffa’s full range of waste containers including specialist waste containers for hazardous materials or for a free comprehensive evaluation of your business waste, contact us on 0800 307 307. 

About the author

Jessica Keynes

Jessica Keynes

Jess works with Biffa’s communications team to create interesting and diverse content for the industrial and commercial industry. Her favourite subject is sustainability, so keep an eye out for helpful tips!