Interventions proven to boost the performance of your food waste service

Maximising the performance of your food waste collection schemes is key to boosting recycling rates. WRAP research has revealed how a package of cost-effective interventions, designed to address the main barriers to participation, can help revitalise your services and increase yields.

Following a series of pilots which ran in 2013-15, a package of interventions comprising:

  • a “no food waste” residual bin sticker;
  • a free supply of caddy liners; and
  • an information leaflet

was found to be the most successful at increasing the yield of household weekly, separate food waste collections. This cost-effective combination provided an average uplift across all pilots of 12 kg/hh/yr, and saw orders for additional indoor and external food waste caddies from an average of 5% of eligible households.

This success has been repeated in a number of further one to one support projects in 2017/18. Following the delivery of the package of interventions in Norwich, the average daily collected food waste tonnage increased by nearly 40%, while average daily collected refuse tonnage decreased by close to 10% in the same period. The average increase in yield of 15.1kg/hh/yr was also sustained for the duration of the 6 month post-intervention monitoring period, and is in part attributed to the delivery of effective training with crews and agency staff and support from the collection contractor.

A similarly impressive increase in yield was also experienced in Gloucester where pre-monitoring tonnages were already high, proving that the package of interventions are able to deliver improvements to schemes of varying starting performance. The uplift from a project in Bournemouth was less significant, but the natural increase in food waste participation following a recent roll out of an alternate weekly collection was sustained, and over 10% of households requested additional food waste caddies during the delivery of the interventions.

The boost in food waste yields across all projects provides evidence to reprocessors of the advantages of working with local authorities to invest in the delivery of cost effective communications and the cost benefit of providing residents with liners. Trials have also shown that key to the success of the interventions are:

  • Simultaneous delivery of information leaflets and residual bin stickers.
  • Communications with a consistent look and feel.
  • Door to door delivery of liners and leaflets to ensure participating households receive them.
  • Maximising opportunities for additional communication activities.
  • Ensuring resources are in place to respond quickly to requests for caddies and liners in order to benefit from interest and enthusiasm to participate generated by leaflet and sticker deliveries.

If you would like to know more about how you can boost the performance of your food waste services, our new interactive PDF, ‘Waste and Recycling Resources for Local Authorities’ signposts you to all our most popular resources including:

  • Food waste collection guidance providing information on different collection systems and what to consider when planning and implementing food waste collections.
  • Information on ways to increase participation through effective promotion and communication activities.
  • Robustly tested localisable Recycle Now communications assets that incorporate social norming messaging proven to increase participation in recycling services.

To download a free copy visit www.wrap.org.uk/latoolkit, or contact us at la.support@wrap.org.uk for more information about the one-to-one support we can offer.