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Composition and re-use potential of household bulky waste in the UK

How many items of bulky waste disposed of via local authority kerbside bulky waste collections and at Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) could be re-used?

The research identified that products such as sofas, mattresses and beds are more commonly disposed of using local authority bulky waste collection services, and that televisions, wardrobes and carpet are more likely to be taken to a HWRC. The research also found that there is often the potential to re-use items thereby removing them from the waste stream.

The research recorded all bulky waste by analysing call centre logs for bulky waste kerbside collections, compositional analysis of kerbside collected bulky waste for re-use potential, and surveying individuals depositing bulky items at HWRC’s.

How much could be re-used?

Of bulky items taken to a HWRC, 36% were judged to be re-usable by householders. The surveyors estimated that across all types of items 32% (by weight) of bulky items were re-usable in their current condition: Slightly lower than the estimate of the householders.

However, this increased to 51% if items requiring slight repair (but in otherwise good condition) were taken into account.

This suggests that just over half of all bulky items taken to HWRCs are re-usable. Householders stated that nearly 80% of items were undamaged by their journey to the HWRC.

The figures are for the whole of the UK in 2010/11.

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