January 14th, 2019

Garden waste: what does Defra want councils to do?

by Peter Jones   There are many good things in the waste strategy published by Defra last month. It’s packed full of ideas, and signals a potentially transformative change in the way that England manages resources – although with many of the important details left to be resolved through consultation. Unfortunately for a strategy, one […]


January 4th, 2019

Doing themselves Stroud: maximising the benefits of fortnightly collections

by Sarah Kemp The headlines on the recycling rate data released in December understandably focused on the continuing flatlining of England’s collection performance. On one measure, ‘waste from households’, the recycling rate for 2017/18 fell by 0.3 percentage points to 44.8 per cent, leaving the EU’s 2020 target of 50% looking increasingly distant. That disappointing […]


December 7th, 2018

The circle line: planning and the circular economy

by Hannah Gillie   Earlier this month, Glasgow declared its ambition to be the first Circular City in Scotland. It joins an ever-increasing list of cities worldwide, though chiefly in Europe and China, which are adopting circular economy agendas and strategies as a route to resource efficiency. As an alternative to the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ process […]


October 22nd, 2018

Target practice: should recycling targets be weight or carbon-based?

by Peter Jones   As the prospect of higher weight-based recycling targets emanating from Europe has moved from a distant possibility to an imminent reality, interest in alternatives to such targets seems to have grown. Environment minister Therese Coffey has repeatedly said that she favours “resource-efficiency” focused targets over weight-based targets. More recently the ESA […]


October 5th, 2018

Sound effects: the problem of sonic litter

by Steve Watson   How is a drum and bass banger like a polystyrene takeaway container? Maybe you’re thinking that they’re both most likely encountered at 2am on a Friday night down the town centre. But I’m more concerned about their presence down residential streets during waking hours. In fact, I’m thinking both should be […]


June 8th, 2018

Great expectations? Predicted and real results of three-weekly collections

 by Maxine von Eye and Tanguy Tomes   When controversial three-weekly bin collections first appeared on the scene, it posed an interesting problem for waste managers. How do you predict the effect that a reduction in collection frequency will have when there’s no pool of past experience into which you can dip? In the absence […]


April 20th, 2018

Spending review: what waste management costs councils

by Peter Jones   Last month the National Audit Office (NAO) published an assessment of the financial sustainability of English local authorities. Some of the findings were pretty stark, with the NAO reporting that “spending on services has fallen by 19.2% in real terms” since 2010/11, with expenditure on areas other than social care falling […]