R&D Tax Relief in Waste Management and Recycling

Even in a prolonged recessionary environment, waste management continues to be an area of innovation, particularly in response to government directives as well as an overall drive towards resource efficiency. Reliance on technology and mechanisation is increasing, e.g. to improve recycling processes or generate energy generation from waste (including thermal recovery processes and anaerobic digestion).

Published/updated:

05 May 2021

recycle sign on brown cardboard paper texture background

Introduced by the UK Government in 2000, the R&D tax relief scheme is designed to encourage innovation and global competitiveness by allowing companies to reclaim some of the money invested in qualifying research and development. R&D tax credits are generally considered to be one of the most attractive tax reliefs available, often resulting in significant cash repayments from HMRC.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of the programme include increased cashflow, which is especially important to innovative, developing companies. It also encourages development of a corporate philosophy that embraces innovation and improvement.

Do you qualify?

A common misconception is that the scheme is just for companies with R&D departments and men in white coats. The fact is that any company that spends money trying to improve a product or service through a technological advance, using qualified staff and appropriate project controls, and where there's doubt about the project's success is likely to be eligible.

R&D in Waste Management and Recycling

Even in a prolonger recessionary environment, waste management continuers to be an area of innovation, particularly in response to EU directives as well as an overall drive towards resources efficiency. Reliance on technology and mechanisation is increasing, e.g. to improve recycling processes or generate energy generation from waste (including thermal recovery processes and anaerobic digestion).

Looking at environmentally friendly technologies, the low carbon agenda is of significant strategic importance to the gas, power, waste management and water industries. Low carbon technologies offer significant growth potential to existing industries, particularly in offshore wind, marine (wave and tidal), and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

What are the potential areas of eligibility?

A vast range of activity in the area of recycling, which could include:

  • Purification of products (i.e. extracting flammable or acidic chemicals before recycling process)
  • Developing methodology for the production of biodiesel and other valuable commodities from food waste.
  • Separation technology (e.g. continuous solid-liquid extraction, liquid-liquid extraction, Ion-Exchange, magnetic separation)
  • Decreasing the grade to which waste gets shredded to hence improve final waste grades for landfill. The finer the grade the more waste can be put into landfill.
  • Developing an industrial scale process to enable the effective, efficient recovery of pure plastics from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
  • Operational Efficiency - improving processing capacity, accuracy, flexibility and safety of a materials recover facility i.e. through automation processes.

What problems might a company face?

  • Much of the utilities infrastructure is a very old and inefficient. New technologies must be compliant with the old system or provide sufficient benefit to require replacement.
  • Explosion risks are often a concern due to the handling of flammable materials, high electrical currents or high pressures (water).
  • Maintaining safety while making changes to technology. Utilities companies are usually strictly regulated to ensure safe standards are maintained throughout the industry.
  • Reducing potable water consumption when processing waste streams.
  • Removal of fine contaminants, such as aggregates and dust, from the waste streams to achieve the required rate of purification.

Eligibility Questionnaire

If you can answer 'Yes' to most of these questions, then based on our experience across thousands of clients, it looks like you could have a successful claim:

  • Have you developed new tools, products or services using technology?
  • Have you tried to improve your existing products through technical changes?
  • Have you have to resolve technical problems with any of your products?
  • Have you found more efficient ways to produce your products or services?
  • Have you experimented with new equipment or production techniques?
  • At the start of a project, did you ever think 'I'm not sure of the best way to do this'?
  • Have any of your projects failed for technical reasons?

Why ABGI?

ABGI is a leading international tax incentive and innovation management advisor. We help companies accelerate their innovation activity by identifying and securing appropriate funding in the form of grants, tax incentives, or commercial funding.

With 30+ years heritage and 200 experts, we manage +£870million of innovation incentives annually across 19 countries, for some of the world's best known brands.

WHATEVER INNOVATION FUNDING CHALLENGES YOU FACE, WHEREVER YOU'RE BASED - WE CAN HELP.

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