Why HWRC Booking Systems Make Financial Sense

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Bookinglab - LARAC Partner
11 Jun 2024

Analysis Based on Data From Over 70 HWRCs

It's no secret that Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) are feeling the squeeze.

Due to well-documented budget shortfalls, councils must find new ways to reduce site costs. 

As more authorities move towards a legal minimum service level, talk of site closures, reduced hours, and revised delivery models have dominated conversations. 

In reality, there is no silver bullet for overcoming these budget shortfalls. 

However, one approach (in particular) has grown in popularity, with ~50% of councils now using a HWRC booking system to generate cost efficiencies. 

With this in mind, we’ll explore findings from the 70+ sites we work with to determine the financial impact of HWRC booking systems.


Kent, West Sussex, and Western Riverside.

Let’s start by looking at three real-life examples from the bookinglab community. 

In this report, Kent County Council (KCC) states that its booking system is responsible for over £150,000 in annual cost savings. Kent attributes these savings to increased site efficiency and improved demand management.

Likewise, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) says booking technology has reduced site costs by around £200,000 a year. According to this report, these savings are generated from a reduction in tonnage and more efficient recycling processes. 

Mark Broxup, General Manager at Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA), also states that autonomous booking rules have enabled his team to prevent out-of-borough residents from using its site, resulting in annual cost savings of over £200,000.

The authorities mentioned above provide a representative sample of bookinglab’s 70-strong HWRC community, which sees, on average, a 600% return on investment from their HWRC booking systems.


But how does it work?

Now that we've established that HWRC booking systems deliver substantial savings let's explore how these savings are created.

1.            By reducing tonnage and waste management costs. 

WSCC found that sites with booking technology receive 35% less waste (on average) than sites without it. Likewise, WRWA has seen a 7% reduction in tonnage since implementing bookings. 

This reduction is primarily due to innovative rules, alerts, and workflows that enable site managers to control usage and stop (or charge) out-of-borough residents and traders from using sites.

One question we get asked a lot is whether this impacts fly-tipping. 

Hannah Allard, Insight & Development Manager at KCC, shares Kent's findings on this topic here. DEFRA also conducted its own research, affirming that there is no link between HWRC booking systems and fly-tipping.

2.            By increasing site efficiency. 

By controlling the number of site visits, HWRC managers can allocate staff more effectively, avoid over/understaffing, and reduce unnecessary overtime spending. 

With a predictable inflow of waste, staff can also efficiently plan the use of site equipment and transport vehicles. This proactive approach helps to reduce wasted capacity and avoid the costly disposal methods associated with an unexpected surge in volume.

3.            By enabling sites to become data-driven.

According to our community, the data our system collects on waste trends and resident behaviour has enabled more informed budgeting decisions, improved resource allocation, and the accurate modelling of strategic cost-saving initiatives. 

Equipped with data on waste types and volumes at the district and ward levels, our partners have also developed targeted education and outreach programs that have reduced waste management costs and improved on-site processes.

4.            By creating new revenue streams. 

What’s more, with the data stored in the system and a pioneering DIY Waste Management Module, our community has been able to accurately monitor (and charge for) DIY waste deposits that exceed the limits outlined in the new legislation. They’ve also been able to:

  •              Charge for out-of-borough usage

  •              Easily identify and charge commercial users 

  •              Introduce charges for discretionary services 

  •              Better market new initiatives like reuse workshops 

5.            By improving recycling rates and reducing material segregation costs. 

KCC states that because its booking system has automated on-site processes and improved demand management, staff have more time to help visitors correctly segregate waste, resulting in a 5% recycling rate increase. Likewise, WRWA credits its 9% recycling rate increase to more efficient sorting processes, improved communication, and greater visibility of waste streams pre-visit.

Learn more.

This was a very quick introduction to some of the financial benefits of our industry-leading HWRC Booking Service. 

If you’d like to see the system in action or learn more about how it delivers a 600% ROI, click here.

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