Bulky household waste management in a UK Local Authority area: current practice, challenges and improvement opportunities

Charnwood Borough Council (CBC), an English local authority, recently introduced a Zero Waste Strategy encompassing targets for waste minimisation and recycling of household waste above UK Government baselines. To achieve these targets various areas of household waste management need to be amended to improve recycling performance. The bulky waste collection service, collecting large items such as furniture and electrical goods was identified as an area to target for improvement. A case study approach was adopted using data collected on a daily basis by CBC to quantify the number and type of items in the bulky waste stream. Current practices of managing bulky household waste are explored; identifying challenges in dealing with this waste stream such as financial and logistical challenges in identifying, collecting, repairing and storage. However, there is potential to increase recycling of some discarded items, particularly the large numbers of mattresses and some wooden furniture unsuitable for reuse.