Increasing Recycling Through Effective Resident Engagement At Multiple Occupancy Housing Developments: The Waste Its Mine Its Yours Project

Ryan Woodard, Anthea Rossouw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Current government policy in England is to recognise and reward the public for their recycling efforts. Under the Reward and Recognition programme the government funded pilot schemes to test different approaches to behaviour change that could lead to increases in recycling. Historically the management of waste in flats, particularly in perceived hard to reach communities has been poor. Reasons include a lack of accountability for the waste generated and an absence of sense of community. Often local authorities provide inadequate facilities and have limited time and resources to effectively engage with residents. There is the perception that residents in Housing of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) are transient thereby making it hard to implement sustainable recycling programmes. If the UK is to meet the 50% recycling target by 2020, HMOs and Housing Associations can play a significant role. In 2005/06 46% of new households built were flats and 22.6% of the current housing stock is classified as flats. Housing Associations provide 2.5 million homes to 5 million people and could act as a facilitator to promote behaviour change across the country. The Waste Its Mine Its Yours pilot project was funded by the government Reward and Recognition Fund and ran from 2011-2014. It was a partnership between Housing & Care21 and AmicusHorizon (both Housing Associations), ARA UK and the University of Brighton. The project aimed to change the waste behaviour of residents living in Housing Association managed properties and endeavored to sustain changes beyond the lifetime of the project. Specifically it aimed to (i) reduce the amount of residual waste generated (ii) increase the rate of recycling (iii) increase the quality of recycling (iv) reduce levels of food waste collected for disposal or recovery by composting on site (v) evaluate the impact of recognising residents for their efforts and the role of rewards in increasing recycling rates. The project put residents at the heart of identifying problems, providing solutions and implementing an outcomes based waste management system where they live. This included at some sites implementing recycling for the first time, changing collection arrangements, the collection of new materials (including batteries and textiles) and installing over 260 composting units. The project covered 3,398 residents at 73 sites, across 31 local authorities and tested the impact of different approaches with sites split into three groups (i) control (ii) engagement - recognising residents for their recycling efforts (iii) reward - residents offered rewards based upon changes in recycling behaviour. A rigorous data collection protocol and a bespoke resident engagement programme was implemented at each site. This paper presents an overview of the project from initial engagement to the impact. The outcomes from the project could help to inform policy and act as a model for improving how waste is managed in HMOs and Housing Association managed properties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISWA 2015 World Congress Antwerp
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherVereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten vzw
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9789075367003
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2015
EventISWA 2015 World Congress Antwerp - Antwerp, Belgium 7-9th September 2015
Duration: 7 Sept 2015 → …


ConferenceISWA 2015 World Congress Antwerp
Period7/09/15 → …


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