The optimisation of household waste recycling centres for increased recycling—a case study in Sussex, UK

Ryan Woodard, Matthew L. Bench, Marie Harder, Nikolaos Stantzos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sixteen percent of household waste in the UK is handled at household waste recycling centres (HWRC). These facilities will play an important role if the UK is to achieve the national target of recycling 25% of household waste by 2005, as most sites now provide containers for recyclables as well as a mixed waste pile. However, few published studies have been conducted regarding the activities of HWRC site users and the composition of waste that is delivered, especially to the mixed waste pile. This paper presents the results of a site survey in Sussex, UK and discusses the role of HWRC in handling household waste. During the week of sampling 969 site users were monitored. The target group was only those depositing material on the mixed waste pile. Two main categories of waste dominated. The first, identified as garden waste, was deposited by 37% of the target group and represents approximately 20% of arisings by observed volume. The second was miscellaneous bagged waste, present in 34% of loads and equating to approximately 21% of arisings by observed volume. Despite the availability of containers for segregating recyclable and compostable materials, 29% of users deposited these onto the mixed waste pile. The site was clearly not able to operate at its optimum. The reasons for this and potential solutions are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-93
Number of pages19
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Bibliographical note

This is a post-print version of a paper which was published in Resources Conservation and Recycling 43 (1):75-93 (2008) doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2004.05.002. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • Recycling targets
  • household waste recycling centres
  • waste analysis
  • recycling activity
  • GIS


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