Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) Guide

23rd November 2016

This guide offers ideas and opportunities for all those involved in the management of household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs). It is aimed at all those involved in the management of HWRCs, including local authority officers, waste-management companies and third-sector re-use partners.

This guide aims to:
Enable HWRCs to maximise recycling rates and reduce costs
Advise HWRCs on how to ensure all staff are fully supported, trained and motivated
Give HRWCs tools and tips to deliver high levels of satisfaction for site users

Overview

Overview

This guide aims to build on and update existing sources of information to provide an overview of current HWRC provision. It has been produced to help local authorities maximise performance and run operations efficiently and cost-effectively, while providing the public with the best possible service.

It highlights current HWRC good practice, taking account of the legislative background and the latest research into HWRC provision. It has been developed with input from local authority representatives, and aims to provide:

  • advice and supporting evidence on efficient and cost-effective HWRC management
  • up-to-date information on all aspects of HWRC operation, including case studies, good-practice examples and projected future developments
  • advice on planning and infrastructure to assist local authorities taking decisions relating to their HWRC network, including the improvement, expansion and creation of sites.

The guide is set out in a slide format and you can use the tabs at the bottom of each page to navigate through the PDF.

To download the full guide, please use the links below:

Download the full guide >>

Chapters

Related

Related

To find further guidance, relevant to the information in this report, please use the following links:

Visit the How to re-use guides >>
Visit the How to re-use case studies and videos >>
Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP): Re-use and recycling >>
Electrical and Electronic Products Sustainability Action Plan (esap): Re-use and recycling >>

Introduction

This guide offers ideas and opportunities for all those involved in the management of household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs). It presents an evidence-based framework for effective and efficient operation of HWRCs, including advice on:

  • maximising recycling rates and reducing costs;
  • ensuring that staff are fully supported, trained and motivated;
  • delivering high levels of satisfaction for site users.

The guide is not prescriptive, and it is intended to enable you to implement changes that will work for your own circumstances.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Aims and objectives >>
Who is it for? >>
Context >>
Terminology >>
Using the guide >>

Background research and evidence

This section provides an overview of current household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) performance. It outlines commonly applied standards for provision in terms of the number of sites, as well as studies into waste composition. Factors which are known to be statistically significant in affecting HWRC recycling rates are also explained.

Data from Wales is not included in this study; all indicators for national performance relate to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Reliable data on national HWRC tonnages for Scotland and Northern Ireland was not available prior to the introduction of WasteDataFlow, a web-based system for municipal waste data reporting by UK local authorities which went live on 30 April 2004.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Current HWRC performance >>
Current HWRC provision and network density >>
HWRC waste composition >>
Factors affecting recycling rates >>

How to measure HWRC performance

If you understand recycling rates, waste composition and other measures of performance, it’s easier to manage household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) waste streams and prioritise new activities.

Local authorities can develop evidence-based strategies to improve performance and increase efficiency by assessing and understanding measures such as waste arisings, number of site users and busy periods.

This section looks at a range of approaches to measuring HWRC performance.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Recycling rates and diversion from landfill >>
Throughput and waste minimisation >>
Site-user surveys >>
Carbon savings >>
Re-use >>
Composition >>

Site operation and infrastructure

This section discusses how site operation and infrastructure can affect household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) performance.

It covers: „

  • site design and layout;
  • the range of materials targeted for separation;
  • containerisation and segregation of bulk materials;
  • measures to increase the efficient use of space on site, including compaction;
  • re-use infrastructure and management;
  • staffing polices, including motivating and training staff;
  • communications issues, including on-site signage.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Layout and design >>
Security >>
Using bulk containers >>
Segregation of residual waste >>
Small recyclables >>
Niche materials >>
Compaction >>
Maximising space and identifying priorities on small and crowded sites >>
Black-bag policies >>
Re-use systems >>
Staffing >>
Communications >>

Legislation

Civic amenity sites, now more commonly known as household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs), were originally set up under the Civic Amenities Act 1967. This stated in Part III (18) that the duty of a local authority was:

‘to provide places where refuse, other than refuse falling to be disposed in the course of a business, may be deposited at all reasonable times free of charge by persons resident in the area of the authority and, on payment of such charges (if any) as the authority think fit, by other persons.’

Since the 1967 Act there have been numerous legislative changes, such as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, to define the responsibilities of local authorities and influence the management and recycling requirements at HWRCs. The overarching legislation is discussed in this section, starting with a focus on the legal definitions of waste, including different types of waste. Health and safety issues and responsibilities are also discussed in detail.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Definition of waste >>
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 >>
The Controlled Waste Regulations >>
The Waste Framework Directive >>
The Waste Shipment Regulation >>
Waste Management Licencing and Environmental Permitting >>
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations >>
The Localism Act, England >>
Scotland: The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 and the Zero Waste Plan >>

The Review of Waste Policy in England >>
Health and safety >>

Contracts and Material Markets

Contracts form the basis of the agreements upon which household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) are managed. They provide an essential legal framework within which a local authority can organise and manage workload. Whilst some local authorities will operate their own sites, this section mainly focuses on HWRCs where contracts are in place for site management, with an emphasis on the contracts held between local authorities and the primary contractor. It outlines the elements that make up an effective contract, and highlights areas where efficiency savings could be made.

The legal framework for local authorities’ commissioning and procuring services is included in the WRAP Bulky Waste Guidance. This includes example social-benefit clauses, as well as a sample contract specification. Any readers interested in further information and advice on HWRC procurement are encouraged to approach WRAP / ZWS directly for tailored advisory services.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Market testing >>
Contract length and size >>
Contract incentives >>
Contract management >>
Materials markets >>

Managing Commercial Waste

In recent years the management of commercial waste at household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) has revolved around methods to prevent it from entering sites. More recently in response to the needs of their business communities and encouragement from governments to accept waste from small businesses, councils are considering how they can accept commercial waste at HWRCs. Improving services for their local business communities can bring opportunities for councils to generate revenue and help protect the provision of services to residents. This section looks at how commercial waste inputs can be managed at HWRCs. WRAP’s Commercial and Industrial Waste and Recycling Bring Centre Guide provides more detailed guidance.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Why control commercial-waste input? >>
Recommendations from the review of waste policy, England >>
Accepting commercial waste >>
Managing illegal deposit of commercial-waste >>

Working with others

There are many benefits of partnership working, although challenges can arise as well. This section considers the issues faced when working with other local authorities, either in two-tier settings or with neighbouring authorities, as well as with third-sector and privatesector contractors.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Partnering with neighbouring authorities >>
Cross-border use >>
Working in a two-tier system to maximise recycling >>
Third-sector involvement >>
Working with contractors >>

Cost-effective network management

While other sections of this guide look at how to manage individual sites effectively, this section focuses on the household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) network, with advice on how to develop a service throughout an area that is fit for purpose, meets statutory requirements and delivers budget savings. Inevitably, there is some overlap with issues covered elsewhere, such as site opening times, their effect on staff costs, and the consequent impact on the resource requirements of the network.

Regardless of budget considerations, it is likely that some HWRCs may need to close at some stage, because they are outdated and no longer fit for purpose, or their planning permission and permit have expired. In these cases the same rationalisation process will need to be undertaken.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Taking public opinion into account >>
Issues to consider when rationalising services >>
Opening hours >>
Costs and benefits of redevelopment >>
Alternatives to HWRCs >>
Operational considerations when rationalising services >>

Future developments

Householders now recycle more and have a greater understanding of the benefits of recycling. Household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) are recognised as a location where more recycling is taking place and they have changed significantly over the years. HWRCs are likely to continue to be an important part of waste management, accepting significant tonnages of waste and achieving high recycling rates. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, to meet both regulatory requirements and customer expectations. This section looks at how HWRCs may evolve in future.

To jump directly to sub-headings in this section of the guide, use the mini-menu below:

Section header >>

Covered sites >>
Making recycling an enjoyable experience >>
Acceptance of other wastes >>
Innovative construction >>
Householder reward schemes >>
Resource-recovery hubs and workshops >>
Diversification of activities >>

Where next?

Want to know more about Household Waste Recycling Centres in Collections and Sorting? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>