Oldham Council experienced high levels of contamination in its household organic waste collection service. On review the contamination was due to plastic bags being used by households to contain food waste for recycling instead of compostable liners. The trial reduced incorrect bag use, benefitted households, retailers and the IVC operator, and saved the council money.
The contaminated organic waste loads were being rejected by their in-vessel composter (IVC) operator, resulting in more waste being sent to landfill, higher disposal costs for the council and reduced feedstock for the IVC plant.
The council collaborated with local businesses and bag suppliers to trial low cost dual-use compostable carrier bags with households in the areas where the highest contamination was occurring. This was accompanied by an intensive and targeted communications campaign. The trial reduced incorrect bag use, benefitted households, retailers and the IVC operator, and saved the council money. Download the full report below.
- Prior to the intervention, 19% of participating households in the target area (12,463 households) used compostable liners for food waste recycling.
- Dual-use compostable carrier bags sold for 3p each at the till in 43 local retailers.
- Following an intensive communications campaign, 96% of participating households now use compostable liners.
- Avoided disposal costs to the council (projected for 2014/15) are estimated to be £282,029.
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Oldham Council carrier bag case study
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