Using waste audits to understand quantities, types and material makeup


Background

Hampshire County Council commissioned this project to explore the amounts, types and makeup of small WEEE disposed of by residents. 

The project also provided information on the age of products, their re-use potential and the different types of materials present in product groups. These included different polymer and metal types.

The project produced valuable information on the potential amount of material diversion that could be achieved and the amount and types of products that could be sent for reuse.

Methodology

M·E·L Research were commissioned to design and undertake an innovative study to help understand these issues. We focussed on most products that come under the remit of small WEEE.

During Recycle Week 2012, Hampshire County Council and local authorities in Hampshire worked in partnership to collect small electrical items from the public at various events based at schools, businesses, libraries and local council offices. The material was collected from these premises and returned to a WEEE sorting facility where M·E·L analysts weighed and visually inspected individual items.

Items that were deemed to be potentially reusable were independently PAT and function tested. Items that were scrap were dismantled and their component parts weighed.

Outcomes

M·E·L Research was able to successfully analyse well over 1000 individual items from over 300 manufacturers during the fieldwork phase. Hampshire County Council will use the results from this study to help inform resident communication campaigns on the disposal of small WEEE as well as provide useful data for industry partners who process these products. 

More information on WEEE re-use can be found here: http://www.wrap.org.uk/eproducts

MRS Evidence Matters