Study into the re-use potential of household bulky waste

The purpose of this research was to understand the composition of bulky waste in terms of item type and re-usability, in order to identify the opportunities for the re-use of bulky items across the UK.

National estimates derived from WasteDataFlow (WDF) suggest that across the UK during 2010/11, some 1,590,000 tonnes of bulky waste is collected at the kerbside or taken to HWRCs. Approximately twice as much is taken to HWRCs (1,050,000 tonnes) than is collected at the kerbside  (540,000 tonnes). 

Using the above data and extrapolating the sample findings across all UK kerbside and HWRC bulky waste collections suggests that of all bulky waste in the UK, (including both kerbside collected and HWRC bulky items), around 42% consists of furniture, 19% textiles and 19% WEEE. These estimates equate to 670,000 tonnes of furniture and 310,000 tonnes each of textiles and WEEE disposed by householders in the UK annually.

There is a perception that items, when they reach the HWRC, or are collected at the kerbside are no longer fit for re-use, yet this report identifies down to specific product level the significant amount of products that are potentially re-usable. It is hoped that this information can help to inform re-use organisations, local authorities and waste management companies of the potential re-use of items that are currently being recycled or disposed.

Available for download under 'related documents' are summary documents that look at composition and re-use potential of household bulky waste in the UK and by furniture, textiles and WEEE. We also have a technical report available for download below.

Access the full report.

Sign up to receive the WRAP Re-use and Repair enewsletter