The best features in recycling
More than half of bulky waste could be reused
More than half of all bulky waste items taken to household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) could be reused, according to a new report published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) today (16 August).
The ‘Composition and re-usability of bulky waste in the UK’ report, the first UK-wide research into the composition of the UK’s bulky waste, was commissioned by WRAP as part of its work to encourage reuse as an act of waste prevention, and follows on from WRAP’s report published last year on the environmental and economic benefits of reuse.
By analysing call centre logs for bulky waste kerbside collections, undertaking compositional analysis of bulky waste collected at kerbside and surveying individuals depositing bulky waste items at HWRCs, WRAP found that of all bulky items taken to an HWRC, 32 per cent were reusable in their current condition, rising to 51 per cent if items requiring slight repair were also taken into account. The most common bulky items taken to HWRCs were found to be televisions, wardrobes and carpets.
Further, WRAP’s findings estimated that 24 per cent of items collected at the kerbside were reusable in their current condition, rising to 40 per cent if items requiring slight repair were taken into account. The most common bulky items left out for kerbside collection were found to be sofas, mattresses and beds.
Mervyn Jones, Head of Products and Materials at WRAP, said: “There is a perception that many bulky items taken to household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) or collected at kerbside are not reusable. However, this research shows that there is significant reuse potential to be realised from these items.
“This research will help local authorities and HWRC operators to remove these items from the waste stream, either for resale or for passing on to the third sector.”
According to WRAP, of all bulky waste in the UK, 42 per cent consists of furniture, 19 per cent textiles and 19 per cent waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) – all materials which WRAP is currently exploring reuse potential for.
Figures from WasteDataFlow, the online database for UK municipal waste reporting, show that over 2010/11, around 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste was collected at kerbside or taken to HWRCs.
The full ‘Composition and re-usability of bulky waste in the UK’ report can be found on WRAP’s website.
- Local Authorities
- About Us