Resource Futures was commissioned by WRAP Rotate to review Buckinghamshire Bulky Waste Collections (BWCs) and Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to scope the options to maximise re-use of bulky waste. There was already a significant amount of re-use occurring onsite at the 10 HWRCs, however the data reviewed suggests that more can be done. As a result of the bulky waste review undertaken, and benchmarking with other data, we assessed that 20% of bulky items collected are re-usable in their current condition and a further 31% re-usable if minor repairs are made.
As a high performing recycling authority, Buckinghamshire County Council wanted to continue improvements in resource efficiency and therefore decide to tackle the issue of bulky waste and its re-use potential. Specifically, the local authority wished to understand what was out there and the levels of activity so that they could form a plan to increase re-use levels. In addition, Buckinghamshire County Council sought to understand the benefits of re-use from a social value viewpoint and see how it could bring strength to the community sector as well as increasing diversion from landfill.
To collect primary data, we went out with collection crews for a number of days across all the different districts in Buckinghamshire This was followed by desk based research assessing how much, who and what to inform our recommendations on how the authority could increase re-use.
The project provided Buckinghamshire with an opportunity to help develop their re-use sector. At the start of the project, there was little to no re-use activity at the HWRCS and we demonstrated how this could be introduced. Furthermore the authority brought changes into kerbside collection activities to increase re-use levels. This project directly led to a subsequent project focusing on how to implement changes to improve re-use:
The benefits of the work were:
One of the key outcomes was the partnership between South Bucks Hospice and the new HWRC waste contractor to set up shops at two of the HWRCs. The partnership has flourished and proved extremely successful.