Councils collecting bulky waste could increase recycling by 1.5% and save £450,000 over five years, new measures from our Waste Prevention Toolkit have found.

The new data comes from our updated Waste Prevention Toolkit (WPT), which is a set of tools built to help local authorities determine the impact of their waste prevention initiatives by allowing them to compare the effects and costs of different approaches. The new area of the toolkit allows for a range of bulky waste collection options to be included in waste minimisation calculations.

For example, a medium sized Unitary Authority of 175,000 households considering introducing a kerbside re-use collection service and a re-use option at their Household Waste & Recycling Centres (HWRCs) has the potential to increase its re-use and recycling rate by 1.5%, and over a five-year period, save greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 538 cars off the road.

The two bulky waste initiatives have been developed using research by WRAP, which highlighted that more than half of all bulky waste items taken to HWRCs could be reused as well as 40% of items collected at the kerbside, such as sofas and TVs.

Eunomia’s Specialist Technical Advisor Emma How, who is responsible for the toolkit, said:

“With Local Authority budgets continuing to be squeezed the Waste Prevention Toolkit is becoming an essential tool to support waste officers in determining which waste prevention initiatives will have the most impact in their local authority and therefore which ones to invest in.

“At a time when many authorities are seeing re-use & recycling rates plateau, and with the 2020 recycling target of 50% fast approaching and further increases required in future, the two new bulky waste initiatives will help officers to map out what their options are when managing bulky waste, and will allow them to demonstrate what changes they’ve made to work towards the 2020 target. We also know that residents are becoming increasingly aware that we can’t recycle our way out of the problem of consumption that is leading to us being swamped by waste.”

Emma continued:

“We hope this new section will allow more authorities to develop and improve their re-use services to save money, make environmental improvements and provide good quality items at a reasonable cost to their residents.”

The WPT is available upon application to local authorities for a small fee.