22 February 2001

Recycling challenges

SESSION 1: Recycling and Organic Waste Management

Urban and Rural Recyclers Are they different?

David Speirs and Peter Tucker, Environmental Technology Group, University of Paisley.

The study set out to diagnose why the rural kerbside collection rounds in the Borough of Fylde returned poorer newspaper recoveries compared to the urban rounds. The study examined specific recycling attitudes, barriers to using the scheme and the overall recycling behaviours of the residents. Pro-recycling attitudes did not differ significantly between areas. Rural residents reported a greater historical incidence of problems with the kerbside scheme and more had dropped out from using the scheme. Paper bank usage was higher amongst rural residents and it is considered that kerbside dropouts may have simply switched their allegiance to the paper banks with overall recycling levels comparable amongst the urban and rural communities. Computer simulations were undertaken to explain how community recycling behaviours can evolve.


Public Education Campaigns and the Recycling Message what do the public think of recycling and do they want to do it?

Adam David Read, Waste & Environmental Management Research Unit, Kingston University

Clearly the success of local authority recycling collection systems, around the world, are reliant upon the participation of households in the services provided by the authorities. Traditional approaches to communicating local authority services to the public have generally relied upon local newspaper adverts, leaflets drops and education programmes aimed at children, but these methods often have long term impacts without the necessary short term gains required to achieve government targets.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an inner London Authority with 78,600 households, introduced in 1993 what was the most comprehensive recycling system (at that time) in the UK offering a doorstep recycling service to all its residents. In 1995 it was decided that 'effective promotion' was the only means available for increase recycling rates from the 9% level they were achieving. The recycling unit found that, although adverts and mailshots were useful, direct promotional activities via a 'Roadshow' approach reached a wider audience through door-to-door surveys. The average increase in recycling tonnage post-Roadshow was 19% for each crew round. The savings made in waste diversion and income from recycling credits made the Roadshow campaign a cost-effective addition to the public education portfolio of the borough. The Roadshow has proved a useful additional marketing tool, conceptually marking a major rethink in the way that recycling is perceived, placing recycling at the heart of an integrated waste management strategy, and communications at the heart of a successful recycling programme.

This approach to public education and recycling performance has recently been awarded landfill tax credits (January 2000) in order to extend the work and # review its success (worth 50,000). This has enabled the education and awareness programme to be 'recycled' and adopted to the changing needs of the authority and their public. By investigating the success of this type of programme through 'polluter pays funding from the landfill sector' the local authority doesn't need to fund the work, yet still reaps the potential benefits of improved participation. The programme now operates during the evenings and at weekends with a dedicated team of young motivated individuals going out onto the streets with a range of recycling messages for the general public. The early data suggests that the desired impact is being achieved. On average 20% of residents in each crew area are being interviewed, an improvement on the 8% from the original Roadshow and the recycling tonnages are being closely monitored to determine whether this approach is being reflected in improved set-out rates, participation levels and recycling rates it is too early to determine just how successful this Roadshow has been (the research is ongoing until May 2000) but it is expected from the data collected so far that it will prove as successful if not more successful than its predecessor!

The programme has interviewed over 6,500 residents, testing the idea that 'out-of-hours' visits are vital for meeting the public and securing their commitment to recycling. Approximately 45% claim to recycle, yet another 35% have never heard of the scheme this is a clear barrier to recycling participation (being noted by 85% of residents as their reason for not getting involved in the twice-weekly kerbside recycling scheme. More encouraging were the 5% who weren't interested. 90% of recyclers use the doorstep collection proving convenience is a factor in participation, and those that use the banks will almost always walk! The most common materials being recycled are glass (85% of recyclers) and paper (90%). As for which approach to kerbside recycling do they use 60% are still using old carrier bags left open (the original pilot concept), whilst designated bins are important in some streets and clear recycling sacks are effective in other streets.

This paper will discuss some of the decisions made during the lead up to the initiation of the Roadshow education programme, assessing why it was adopted by the authority to promote its recycling service, whilst considering the general contexts of social marketing and public promotions. The paper will discuss recycling awareness, willingness to participate and residential barriers to scheme development using the data collected between June and December 2000. More importantly the paper will provide evidence of the success of 'social marketing' programmes in improving participation in recycling schemes, and in sustaining this impact over time!


Quantifying Organic Waste Diversion from Landfill by Home Composting

Sharon Jasim and Stephen R Smith, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Home composting has potential as an alternative to landfill for managing a proportion of the domestic biodegradable waste stream. It is unique in that it offers the only means by which the producer can be the processor as well as the end-user of the recycled product. However, there is a lack of information on actual waste diversion rates achieved by home composting initiatives. This paper presents the first quantitative data to be collected to inform decisions about the effectiveness of home composting in waste management strategies. The study was based on 3 refuse collection rounds in the Chertsey, Thorpe and Hythe areas in the Borough of Runnymede, Surrey. A promotional leaflet was distributed in April 2000 to almost 4,000 properties in the Study Area offering a subsidised compost bin. In addition, demographic and socio-economic data relating to participation in the home composting scheme were collected by questionnaire. A list of 64 households was compiled to participate in a more detailed monitoring and research project on home composting. Initial estimates of waste inputs to the compost bins in the first five months of the trial, suggested that a recycling/diversion rate equivalent to 12% of total household waste may be achieved with a participation rate of 20 % of households actively engaged in home composting in the community.


Green fingered? Organic Waste Management in London

Steve Jones, Waste & Environmental Management Research Unit, Kingston University

Issues surrounding the management of organic waste have become more significant on local authority agendas following the introduction of the EU Landfill Directive into UK environmental law last year. This limits the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill, and the UK has had to rethink its strategy for dealing with the organic waste stream. Composting is the obvious approach to effectively managing this waste stream, and it has a long history of use in the UK and throughout Europe, although not always as a waste management approach. Composting (and anaerobic digestion) is now being given greater attention as a means of shifting this nation into a state of a sustainable integrated waste management.

This paper describes how different composting techniques have been brought into the spotlight of local government and how central government are promoting greater in terms of organic waste management. Perhaps composting will need to be as 'high profile' as the recycling of 'dry' materials such as glass and paper if we are to meet EU targets and attain greater sustainability in our management practices. Drawing on local authority case studies (using information gathered in the summer of 2000) the various techniques used across a spectrum of case studies are assessed in their effectiveness to manage their Responsibility.

Session 2: Sustainable Waste Management Initiatives

Personal Producer Responsibility

Sally Wood, Oxford Brookes University

The waste management industry arguably takes pride that municipal waste collection and disposal increasingly is efficiently and cost effectively managed. With respect, why are we looking at the problem and not the cause?
The EU embraces the principles of 'polluter pays' 'producer responsibility', 'proximity principle' and 'proportionality'. The priority in the waste hierarchy is waste prevention.

These concepts do not apply directly to UK household waste where the local authority acts in loco parentis for the waste producer, the householder. Waste collection and disposal (recycling) are provided as a public service. Total costs are not transparent. Waste is growing by 3% pa.

Commercial and industrial organisations have reaacted to increased difficulty and cost of disposal of waste. The householder is being provided with increased facilities and costs are misrepresented.Recycling initiatives across the UK are producing recovery # of some 8%. But at a quoted cost of 150 per # household pa, suggesting about 450 pa to reach the 25% target. Public money spent on waste could be better spent.

To achieve sustainability, individual householders must have personal producer responsibility for the waste produced by their chosen lifestyle.

Local authorities have powers to require householders to put recyclables in specified containers which could include banks. They then may charge for collection of residual waste. They are not required to collect waste which they are reasonably satisfied can be disposed at the household.

This paper discusses the implications of each householder being taking responsibility for reducing his own waste by either modifying his own lifestyle, or paying proportionately for a service to do so for him.
Please note: the views expressed are the personal views of the author.


The 'Comparison' Element of Best Value

Katherine Tebbatt Adams and Paul S Phillips, SITA Centre for Wastes Management, University College Northampton

Best Value has applied as a statutory duty for all local authorities in England and Wales for 9 months. Part of the Best Value legislation requires local authorities to review all of their services over a five year period using the 4 C's of Challenge, Compare, Consult and Compete. The comparison element of Best Value requires local authorities providing waste services varying from waste collection, transportation, disposal, recycling, street cleansing, monitoring of landfill sites, litter control, abandoned vehicles, dog fouling to compare these services with other local authorities and service providers. This is known as 'benchmarking'. Most authorities are now part of a benchmarking club providing and sharing data on their waste services. To compare services it is necessary to use performance indicators (national and local) which inform the authority and the user. Performance indicators are becoming increasingly common and the Government is now using them as a means for local authorities to reach their statutory recycling targets.
One pilot authority for Best Value and waste management has been comparing their waste services with similar local authorities for over two years as part of a benchmarking club. The results of this benchmarking club and the use of performance indicators are analysed in the context of future service provision, contract requirements, diversion of municipal waste from landfill and the actual operation and cost of service provision. The analysis proves that is essential to look behind the performance indicators and compare 'like for like'.


SESSION 3: Construction Waste and Incineration

A Review of Waste Management for the Ready-Mixed Concrete Industry

Ben Sealey, SITA Centre for Sustainable Wastes Management, University College Northampton

With 1.5 million people employed by the UK construction industry, and its making a contribution of 10 per cent to UK gross domestic product, the UK government recognises that the industry has a critical role to play in contributing to sustainable development.

The construction industry's single most important material is concrete. While the issue of hardened concrete waste has received considerable attention, process waste arising from the manufacture of ready-mixed concrete is relatively unexplored. This paper reviews current waste management issues for the UK ready-mixed concrete industry and looks at possible future developments. It is apparent that initiatives such as the landfill tax have encouraged UK ready-mixed concrete manufacturers to substantially reduce the amount of waste they produce. As environment pressures continue to increase, ready-mixed concrete producers are being forced towards operating a closed production system.


Cutting Out Construction Waste

Gillian Hobbs, Building Research Establishment Ltd.

BRE have developed a waste benchmarking software tool called SMARTWastep. The methodology was developed on a social housing project at Oxford in 1998. Construction waste can be benchmarked and categorised by type, amount, cause and cost. This data is vital in reduction of waste and maximum materials recovery.
This methodology can be applied to any industry, although initial work is being carried out on the construction industry. A construction site presents a particular challenge with respect to making the manufacturing process more efficient:

  • Each product is manufactured in a different location with various types and sizes of materials.
  • There are a series of sub-contractors who typically delegate waste management responsibility to the main contractor.
  • Waste management options vary from site to site in terms of availability and cost.
  • Much of the production process takes place exposed to the elements.
  • Time and space for materials management is often at a premium.

Waste related costs of product, labour and disposal are presented in order to promote change. These costs typically run at 0.5% of the overall project value. This seems a small figure until compared with profit margins of around 3%. Current projects include Greenwich Millennium Village and Chiswick Park development.
(SMARTWaste is a trademark of Building Research Establishment Ltd.)


Properties and Microstructure of Sintered Incinerator Bottom Ash

Sophia Bethanis, Centre for Environmental Control and Waste Management, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

The less than 8mm fraction of bottom ash produced at a commercial MSW waste incinerator has been milled, pressed and sintered at different temperatures to form new ceramic materials. The effects of the milled ash particle size distribution, powder compaction pressure and sintering temperature on the physical properties of the materials formed have been investigated, and the materials have been characterised by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Acid Neutralisation Capacity (ANC) test, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and thermal analysis (TG/DTA). The milled ash was found to contain quartz (SiO2), calcite (CaCO3), minor amounts of ghelenite (Ca2Al2SiO7) and hematite (Fe2O3). Sintered densities of materials produced from ashes milled to 95% particle size less than 27mmmmm increased from 1.38 to 2.63g/cm as the sintering temperature increased from 1020C to 1080C. Firing above 1080C caused a rapid decrease in density and sample expansion. This was associated with the formation of a significant volume of isolated, approximately spherical pores. Diopside (CaMgSi2O6) was the principal crystalline phase in the high-density materials, with only minor amounts of quartz and magnetite (Fe3O4). Incinerator bottom ash can, therefore, be processed to form ceramics with properties controlled by the ash particle size distribution and sintering conditions.


SESSION 4: Waste Minimisation

The Key Components of Local Resource Efficiency Projects: Case Studies from Northamptonshire I

Paul A Clarkson and Paul S Phillips, SITA Centre for Sustainable Wastes Management, University College Northampton and Julie C Adams, Business Link Northamptonshire

The Northamptonshire Resource Efficiency project benefited from the formation of strong local partnerships. It proved very cost # effective, realising savings of 1.89 million across the nineteen companies, which completed the project for an input of funding of around # 150,000. A major component of the projects 'exit strategy' was to ensure that the culture of resource efficiency permeated through the County to Districts, Boroughs and even Parishes. Built on key partnerships two Borough projects were developed, Wellingborough Resource Efficiency Project and Kettering Action on Resource Efficiency. The projects received small # amounts of funding, 12,000 each. Guided by an experienced steering group and a designated project manager the projects have recruited twenty-seven companies. Initial estimates suggest that the final savings across the participating companies will be in the region of one percent of turnover. These projects demonstrate that by utilising local expertise available through the formation of partnerships, club costs can be reduced without jeopardising the potential savings of participating companies. This is a key issue in the deliverance of the objectives of sustainable development.


The Key Components of Local Resource Efficiency Projects: Case Studies from Northamptonshire II

Julie C Adams, Business Link Northamptonshire, Paul A Clarkson and Paul S Phillips, SITA Centre for Sustainable Wastes Management, University College Northampton

Along with the Borough projects in Wellingborough and Kettering, projects were also developed in Daventry and on the Moulton Park Industrial Estate in Northampton. These projects lacked many of the key components of the others. Daventry Waste Minimisation Initiative was an early pilot project developed by the District Council. It relied heavily on the support of University College Northampton and Business Link Northamptonshire to deliver four certified training sessions. No direct funding was secured and therefore on-going support was not available. Six companies were recruited and attended the training sessions, also receiving an ETBPP Opportunity Audit. Participating companies were then on their own to initiate resource efficiency into their operations. Moulton Park Waste Minimisation Club did have a steering group but this did not include a representative from the Northampton Borough Council. The club received limited direct funding and had no designated project manager, although it was overseen by the Environmental Business Advisor at Business Link Northamptonshire. Seven companies were recruited and received certified training and an Opportunity Audit from the ETBPP. From the beginning seminars and other club events were poorly attended and therefore company 'networking' was limited. It is suggested that because these clubs lacked several of the key components of the other Borough projects that they have not yet reached their true potential. It is encouraging however, that recruitment levels are still comparable to other more high profile regional initiatives in receipt of large amounts of funding.



Recovering Packaging Waste from the Residual Waste Stream, Ask the Public!

Darren Perrin and John R Barton, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds

'Waste Strategy 2000' now puts a mandatory household recycling target on Local Authorities requiring them to double their recycling rates by 2003/4 and treble by 2005/6 in relation to 1998/9 levels. All but a few Local Authorities failed to meet existing aspirational targets of 25% recycling and composting levels by 2000. Understanding why people recycle and how to increase recycling levels (especially for the packaging fractions) remains a difficult and complicated task. A pilot kerbside recycling scheme serving 150 households was set up in June 2000 for a period of 6 months in which 'All recyclables' i.e. paper, glass, metal, plastic, etc. were targeted. Households recycling attitudes, opinions and claimed behaviour were canvassed before and after introducing the scheme. A focus group meeting was held at the end of the project. Scheme monitoring, performance indicators and waste auditing were undertaken throughout the research period to enable comparability. Preliminary results report a 48% scheme diversion of dry recyclables believed to be the highest within the UK and high participation levels in excess of 90%. The research postulates one of the main reasons for the schemes success was a result of a simple user friendly scheme design and effective/informative communication and feedback with households.


How to Exceed 50% Waste Diversion Through Composting and Recycling from the Kerbside Daventry District Council's Green Waste Diversion Scheme

Adam David Read, Waste & Environmental Management Research Unit, Kingston University and Sue Reed, Daventry District Council

The national waste strategy and the EU Landfill Directive have set tough targets for the reduction of organic waste from landfill, and this is currently forcing waste managers in the UK to develop alternate ways of diverting organic waste from landfill. Authorities are looking at more radical approaches to the management of their recyclables than the traditional approach of drop-off sites. As a result tackling the organic fraction of the domestic waste stream will become more of a priority for local authorities, and a number of local authorities have developed green and kitchen waste collection and composting following the realization that the collection of dry-recyclables alone will not necessarily allow them to achieve the recovery and recycling targets set by central government; and rather than embark upon recovery systems centered on Energy from Waste incineration, they have focused on the organic waste stream (approximately 30% of household waste).

One of the leading authorities in this field is Daventry District Council. Not only have they initiated an innovative kerbside collection for recyclables and organic material but they also embarked upon a 12-month communication and education programme, which was delivered by Waste Watch from August 1998 until September 1999. Daventry District Council has, during the past two years developed its waste collection services to a degree that is enabling recycling results, which places it amongst the top in the UK – if not the leading authority in materials recycling! Daventry's approach differs from that applied in many authorities by virtue of a 4 bin system; a 240 litre 'grey' bin for refuse (landfilled), a 240 litre 'brown' bin for kitchen and garden organic waste (composted), a 'blue' recycling box for cans, glass, aerosols and plastic bottles (recycled), and a 'red' recycling box for newspapers, pamphlets and textiles (recycled).

This paper will detail the development of the scheme and its success in raising awareness concerning waste issues in the local community. The scheme has helped increase recycling and composting, whilst promoting a more resource friendly community through waste reduction measures. The paper will outline the pilot project and education campaign that ran in 1998-99, and discuss the translation of this successful project to the rest of the district during 1999. This has achieved fantastic results with the District's recycling rate increasing from 9% pre-scheme initiation to in excess of 46% in the current year! The additional cost of this service, including brown wheelie bins, kitchen pre-sort bins, equipment for processing the waste, and the additional cleaning of the refuse vehicles totaled only # #500,000, or an additional 6.50 per resident per year (a mere 12.5 pence per week!)
This paper draws on the experience of the communications officer during the pilot project and the current staff at Daventry District Council to provide an overview of why this approach has worked and how it could be developed in other authority areas in the UK. Results from residential surveys, waste compositional analyses and performance monitoring will also be detailed in the presentation. Daventry is at the leading edge of economic waste recovery and recycling in the UK a real beacon in the recycling wilderness. Success of the overall programme has resulted from thorough research, testing and trials of the system combined with a broad ranging and on-going consumer education campaign. Perhaps the evidence presented will lead to Daventry's recognition as a best practice authority for waste collection and recycling?


University College Northampton In Partnership to Encourage Sustainable Waste Management

Karen Cheeseman, SITA Centre for Sustainable Wastes Management, University College Northampton

University College Northampton encourages sustainable waste management by running a number of projects in partnership with various bodies. The success of these projects can be in part attributed to the strong element of partnership and trust with other organisations. The Northamptonshire Resource Efficiency Project which was completed in December 1999 had 19 businesses completing the training aspect with a # reported total savings of 1.9 million p.a. over the duration of this waste minimisation club. Data was collected on waste produced and financial savings made; large amounts of qualitative data were also collected on the success of the Project as a club. Partners included Business Link, ETBPP, the Environment Agency and Enviros March Consultancy. The completed European Social Fund Project 'Learning for Competitiveness' trained employees in industry aspects of resource efficiency. The ongoing project of Interreg IIC North Sea Region Pilot Project 'Waste Stream Management' is analysing waste streams in 3 different countries and providing training to companies. Northamptonshire Business Environment Forum provides free training in a wide range of courses to both students and industry. All these projects owe part of their success to the partnerships and working relationships formed between University College Northampton and various organisations in a local, regional, national and even international context.


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