Co-collection reaps benefits
With local authorities expected to deliver more efficient services with less resource to hand, a growing number are looking for opportunities to generate new income streams.
Last year, WRAP published its Co-collection of household and commercial waste and recyclables guide and one of the headline figures was the increase in councils that offer a commercial waste service for SMEs. In fact, nearly 45% of local authorities offered such a service compared to nearly 25% in 2007.
But should this really be a surprise? To start with, it seems a logical step for local authorities who arguably are best placed to provide waste collection services for the entire community.
Faced with severe funding cuts but under pressure to maintain quality frontline services and also meet Waste Framework Directive requirements, local authorities have had to think hard about how to deliver more efficient services.
Rolling out co-collection services of household and commercial waste and/or household and commercial recyclables can achieve both cost and service efficiencies while also create an income stream for cash-strapped councils.
It's also a welcomed move for SMEs that may not have access to an affordable waste and recycling collection stream in their area.
Of course there is the additional option of businesses dropping their waste off at local authority household waste and recycling centres. The problem here is that there are often space restrictions.
At present, councils use a variety of different methods to determine how best to apportion household and commercial waste and recycling but it's not an ideal situation. Sometimes the collection and disposal authorities fail to agree the average weights of materials collected.
In a step forward, WRAP has been looking at the bulk density of commercial and industrial waste/recycling when it is co-collected by local authorities. The idea is to develop a single methodology, underpinned by robust weight data, to apportion commercial/household waste and recycling.
It is also setting up a steering group of leading experts from across industry and the local authority community to take this work forward and has invited both sectors to contribute to the project.
True, co-collection may not be feasible for every council but it's a service that can reap benefits in more ways than one.Nick Warburton