Potential of bulky waste reuse is enormous

More than half the bulky waste taken to household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) could be reused says the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

According to a report released yesterday called the ‘Composition and re-usability of bulky waste in the UK,’ there is a common misconception that when bulky waste is taken to HWRCs or collected from the kerbside, it is not fit for reuse.

The report also reveals that more than 40% of bulky items collected at the kerbside could be reused.

WRAP head of products and materials, Mervyn Jones, said: “This research shows that there is significant re-use potential to be realised from bulky items.

“It will help local authorities and HWRC operators to remove these items from the waste stream, either for re-sale or for passing on to the third sector.”

Estimates from the WasteDataFLow (the online database for UK municipal waste reporting) suggest that during 2010/2011, 1.6m tonnes of bulky waste was collected at the kerbside or taken to HWRCs.

WRAP has calculated that of the bulky items taken to the HWRC, 32% is reusable in its current condition and another 10% requires only slight repair. For items at the kerbside, 34% is reuseable in its current condition and 16% requires slight repair.

The research found that the most common bulky items taken to HWRCs are televisions, wardrobes and carpets, while the most common for kerbside collection are sofas, mattresses and beds.

WRAP says that of the bulky waste collected, 42% consisted of furniture, 19% of textiles and 19% of electrical and electronic equipment waste.

Conor McGlone

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