Curran, Anthony, Williams, Ian D. and Heaven, Sonia
Management of household bulky waste in England
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 51, (1), . (doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2006.08.003).
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Household bulky waste includes large and heavy items such as furniture and electrical appliances. Local authorities in England provide two options for disposing of these items: a special collection service, often involving a collection charge, and HouseholdWaste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), where residents can take their waste free of charge. Local private companies and community or charitable organisations may also collect certain bulky items. In this study, 1450 householders in 3 cities across England were surveyed about a range of issues relating to the disposal of bulky items. Questionnaires were hand delivered to households pre-selected using the national Index of Multiple Deprivation in order to compare how disposal of bulky items differs with level of affluence. Sixty-five percent of householders had discarded bulky items in the 12 months prior to the survey.
The principal disposal route was found to be the HWRC, with almost 60% of residents who had discarded items using this method. Only 19% of the householders had used the special collection services. In low-affluence areas, lower car ownership made residents more reliant on council collections of bulky items, and HWRCs were used less frequently. Householders were found to be satisfied with the collection service they had received.
The study demonstrates that there is significant capacity for reuse and recycling of bulky items at a national level. Using the Waste Hierarchy, these management options are environmentally preferable to landfill, which is the widely-used disposal method at present. Where items are reused there are also social benefits for the community or charity groups involved, volunteers employed, and recipients of the items. Only the current bulky waste handlers – local authorities, can implement the logistical, and in some cases financial, solutions that are required to increase recovery in this waste stream.
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