How to Include Re-use in Local Authority HWRC Procurement

6th July 2016

This guide provides information on how to include re-use in household waste recycling centre (HWRC) procurement.  It should be helpful to Local Authorities wanting to include one or several reusable material streams in their HWRC contracts.

The benefits of including re-use in HWRC contracts
The critical success factors for procuring re-use
Incentivising, monitoring and evaluating requirements in an HWRC contract
Example contract clauses for re-use


The purpose of this guide is to inform anyone funding or running HWRCs of the procurement options and opportunities available when introducing or improving re-use services. The primary audience will be those local authorities and their partners that are funding or running HWRCs, so advice is provided for local authority waste and procurement departments and waste management contractors. However, the guide will also help social enterprises, charities, and other potential partners to gain an understanding of the local authority procurement process.

Drivers and barriers to re-use procurement

Re-use at HWRCs has been happening for many years and there is a wealth of information available. As one of the main sources of information, WRAP has produced a series of Re-use ‘How to’ Guides, as well as bulky waste guidance, and a waste prevention and re-use portal.  The national and local policies and strategies can be drivers for re-use but in reality re-use can be challenging to deliver due to various financial, operation issues etc.  Securing a contract that delivers re-use relies upon effective procurement that addresses these barriers.


Benefits of re-use procurement

A number of benefits can be realised after procuring or commissioning re-use. These should be considered during the pre-procurement and procurement processes and are broadly classified as:

  •  financial (savings and income potential),
  •  performance improvements (tonnage diverted from landfill, customer satisfaction and improved recycling rates from HWRCs),
  •  social (job creation, volunteering, training, etc.), and
  •  environmental (local air quality, reduced emissions to land and water, etc.).

Procurement options available

The commissioning of a re-use service or procurement of an HWRC involves a process of intelligence gathering and needs assessment to identify the services required. This process should involve identification and benchmarking of current good practice performance with reasonably comparable local authorities.  Local authorities (indeed, all public bodies), achieve their duties and objectives via a variety of routes. These include different ways of either carrying out activities themselves, or asking outside parties to carry out activities on their behalf. This process, described as ‘commissioning’, covers the cycle of:

  •  assessing the needs of the people served or represented (e.g. constituents),
  •  designing the specification for the necessary works, goods or services,
  •  securing delivery of those works, goods or services, and
  •  monitoring and reviewing their delivery.

The legal and procurement framework

This section provides a brief tabular overview of the legal framework of the procurement process which LAs are required to follow. A more detailed assessment is provided as guidance in Appendix 3B. The timescales are indicative and not all activities will be necessary, e.g. soft market testing or re-use trials.

Resource input required

In order to procure a re-use service (particularly at an HWRC site), a significant level of resource input is required from all the stakeholders involved. Typically, the local authority will contribute decision-making, and operational, monitoring and compliance know-how, with private sector and third sector organisations contractors also playing a part.

Incentivising re-use

Properly designed contract incentives are likely to have a strong effect on the ‘three Rs’ – reduce, re-use and recycle. They often lead to improved recycling rates and landfill savings over time, as well as improved relationships with re-use partners.  Contract incentives provide a useful tool for local authorities to achieve levels of service and performance that can be measured and monitored against specified targets. They can be employed to focus on specific areas for improvement and are widely used to increase levels of recycling and re-use at HWRCs, and to divert materials from residual waste streams, saving authorities money on disposal costs. 

Monitoring and evaluation requirements in a contract

Since re-use items are diverted from the waste stream and put back to functional use, they will not be captured by the same channels as recycling tonnages. This section provides a brief overview of the types of KPI to be considered in contract formation and during the procurement process to account for this. Further details of KPIs are available in Appendix 3.