A Guide to the Changing Technology of Waste Collection : BLOG: A Pictorial History of Biffa Waste Services Collection Vehicles

Timothy Byrne biffa waste recycling refuse collection vehicle
© Timothy Byrne

At home I have a massive photo collection illustrating dry and liquid waste collection vehicle’s operated by UK waste management companies such as Biffa, as well as from companies which have been acquired since the late 1970’s to the 2000’s.

Having worked in the waste industry for over 20 years, and having had an interest in waste management since the age of four, I recently embarked on a task of researching and recording the history of Biffa.

I felt that it was important to document Biffa’s developments during the period from 1970’s to the 2000’s to respect the people involved through this era of the company’s development.

The book covers Biffa’s fleet of dry and liquid waste collection vehicles, as well as the key acquisitions of other UK waste companies made by the firm.

The ownership of Biffa by British Electronic Tractions (BET), the development of Biffa’s Belgian subsidiary and later on the acquisition of Biffa by Severn Trent Water plc. are also detailed.

Two pieces of legislation introduced in the early 1970’s were critical for the company in this period.

The Control of Poisonous Substances Act 1972 and the Control of Pollution Act 1974, which laid down regulation in respect to the correct disposal of controlled wastes.

These pieces of legislation were endorsed by the National Association of Waste Disposal Contractors (NAWDC), an organisation of which Richard Biffa (Junior) was a founding member in the 1960s. He was also instrumental in Biffa’s national strategic growth.

Overall the book reviews for the first time some of the most interesting years in the development of the private waste sector in the UK in terms of vehicle and equipment innovation.

It shows how Biffa became one of the UK’s largest waste companies and serves as a reference point for present and future waste managers.

Timothy Byrne is a full member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and is International Waste Manager certified through the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

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