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This study focuses on the three main kerbside collection systems currently operating: kerbside sort; single stream co-mingled; and two stream partially co-mingled. It examines a number of the main service variations in each category within two different local contexts.

The intention is that local authorities should use the information in this report to consider their actual costs in the light of predicted costs of a comparable good practice system.


The increase in national recycling rates achieved by local authorities since the publication of Waste Strategy 2000 has been impressive. The growth from 7% to 31% in 2006/07 has been achieved through a mixture of investment and ingenuity, but it has resulted in the creation of a number of different collection systems with many local variations.

Although opinions about the merits of the different systems are often firmly held, there has so far been little objective evidence about their cost and effectiveness or about the quality of the material they produce or the implications for service standards to customers.

This report is intended to provide a systematic appraisal of the characteristics of the principal kerbside recycling collection systems looking at both their cost and effectiveness. WRAP will support this by further work looking at managing material quality within municipal recycling systems and how to underpin customer support for these new systems.


1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Purpose of the report
  • 1.2 Structure of the report

2.0 Characteristics of a good kerbside recycling collection scheme

  • 2.1 Common characteristics of a good scheme
  • 2.1.1 Easy to use
  • 2.1.2 Reliable
  • 2.1.3 Effectively communicated
  • 2.1.4 Flexible
  • 2.1.5 Health and Safety

3.0 Approach

  • 3.1 Stage 1: Identification of the systems to be modelled
  • 3.2 Stage 2: Defining the local authority setting
  • 3.3 Stage 3: Modelling
  • 3.4 Stage 4: Testing of Assumptions and Modelling Outputs

4.0 Kerbside Sorting

  • 4.1 Overview
  • 4.2 Overall Results
  • 4.2.1 Kerbsider and stillage vehicles
  • 4.2.2 Increasing Kerbsider volume
  • 4.2.3 Adding Textiles to a Stillage Vehicle
  • 4.2.4 Comparison of Collection only costs and Net costs
  • 4.2.5 Comparison of Rural and Urban Authorities
  • 4.2.6 Impact of different recycling collection frequency
  • 4.2.7 Impact of refuse collection frequency on recycling collection costs and yields
  • 4.2.8 Implications of collecting plastic bottles
  • 5.0 Single Stream Co-mingled Collections

5.1 Overview

  • 5.2 Overall Results
  • 5.2.1 Comparison of Collection only costs and Net costs
  • 5.2.2 Comparison of Rural and Urban Areas
  • 5.2.3 Implications of collecting glass
  • 5.2.4 Impact of Contamination on Costs

6.0 Two Stream Co-mingled Collections

  • 6.1 Overview
  • 6.2 Overall Results
  • 6.2.1 Comparison of Rural and Urban Areas
  • 6.2.2 Impact of refuse collection frequency on recycling collection costs and yields
  • Kerbside recycling: indicative costs and performance – Technical annex

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  • Kerbside recycling: Indicative costs and performance

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