22 February 2001

Recycling challenges:

Conference report

A wide-ranging
conference which produced a lot of answers and
challenges to issues facing recyclers and waste
management companies was held earlier this month
at the SITA Centre for Sustainable Wastes
Management at University College Northampton.
“Towards the future Waste in the 21st
century” a summary of the conference
proceedings is produced below. More details
about the work of the SITA Centre is available

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.


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 ‘tive
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!


Organic Waste Diversion from Landfill by Home

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.


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 ‘ry’
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 ter Responsibility

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
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
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


‘omparison’ 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 ‘nchmarking’. 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

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

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.


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
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.)


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

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
‘xit 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


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.



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 ‘ll
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 ‘rown’ bin for kitchen and garden
organic waste (composted), a ‘lue’ recycling
box for cans, glass, aerosols and plastic
bottles (recycled), and a ‘red’ recycling box
for newspapers, pamphlets and textiles
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?


College Northampton In Partnership to
Encourage Sustainable Waste Management

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

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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