Factors influencing recycling performance

1st July 2015

The report 'Analysis of recycling performance and waste arisings in the UK 2012/13' looks at factors influencing recycling performance in the UK.

Key points
The “best fit” model for the UK explains 42% of the variation in kerbside performance (kg/hh/yr) using a combination of variables that relate to the socio-economic regional and kerbside operational characteristics of local authorities
There is a substantial increase in the number of local authorities targeting all 5 materials, with 173 England authorities collecting all of these materials during 2008/09 (nearly half of all England local authorities)

Overview

Overview

The analysis explores how the nature of the collection systems and local area characteristics influence recycling performance and waste arisings. 

It builds on the principles from WRAP’s Analysis of kerbside dry recycling performance in the UK 2008/09 and uses statistical models to identify factors that explain the variation in recycling rates and also how specific factors impact on those rates.   

The analysis draws on WasteDataFlow data for 2012/13 and collection scheme data for the same year collated by WRAP.

The outputs add to the evidence base on the key factors that impact recycling including materials collected, the role of food waste and the capacity provided for residual waste.

To find out more, use the following link to download the report:

Download the report >>

Conclusions

Conclusions

When comparing the performance of England local authorities during 2007/08 and 2008/09, it was found that there have not been any highly significant changes in recycling yields per household for the various materials. The main difference is the number of local authorities in England targeting various materials, with a significant increase in local authorities targeting card (and a corresponding decrease in authorities targeting paper only) and slight increases in the number of local authorities targeting cans, glass and plastic. There is a substantial increase in the number of local authorities targeting all 5 materials, with 173 England authorities collecting all of these materials during 2008/09 (nearly half of all England local authorities).

Benchmark data has been produced in respect of ranges of materials targeted for kerbside dry recycling (Section 3), local authority area types (Section 4) and collection scheme types (Section 5). These data are a useful resource for local authorities wishing to benchmark their kerbside dry recycling performance against similar local authorities in the UK. Some patterns in kerbside dry recycling performance are discernable from the benchmark tables. However kerbside dry recycling performance is influenced by several factors and can be best understood through referring to the regression model presented in Section 2.

The regression model produced for this report is by far the most powerful explanatory model describing how kerbside dry recycling performance is influenced by various factors. The factors found to be influential in affecting kerbside dry recycling performance are:

  • Socio-economic, with higher deprivation being associated with lower recycling performance;
  • Range of materials targeted, with those local authorities targeting a wider range of materials for dry recycling achieving higher kerbside dry recycling yields;
  • Kerbside collection system characteristics, with those areas with less containment volumes for residual waste (most commonly through providing fortnightly residual collections) and greater capacity provided to householders for presenting their dry recycling at the kerbside (sufficient dry recycling containment capacity and collection frequency) achieving higher dry recycling yields at the kerbside;
  • Regional, with some regional variations in kerbside recycling performance that cannot be explained by the other factors in the model, or by any other factors tested during this study.

Of these factors, those found to be most influential were levels of deprivation (with lower yields associated with higher levels of deprivation), the range of materials targeted (with wider ranges of materials targeted achieving higher dry recycling yields) and fortnightly refuse collections (being associated with higher dry recycling yields in comparison to weekly refuse collections).

Related

Related

To find out more information related to this guidance, please use the following links:

Kerbside recycling: indicative costs and performance >>
Dry recyclables: improving quality, cutting contamination >>

Kerbside collection case studies >>

Where next?

Want to know more about kerbside collections? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

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