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NRAs 2019: Local Authority Success – Targeted Improvement Scheme

WINNER: Manchester City Council

There are around 52,000 households in Manchester who live in apartments, representing 23% of its housing stock. Most of the city’s property growth will be in apartments, but this type of property has historically achieved only low rates of recycling – around 10% – and high levels of residual waste.

The council undertook extensive engagement with residents in flats to understand the barriers to accessing the collection service and what would motivate them to recycle more. As a result of changes, overall tonnage of recycling increased by 30% per four weeks and general waste fell by 15% per four weeks, resulting in savings of £250,000 during the first year.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “A very comprehensive scheme that included a full suite of measures. It is an excellent example of good practice that can be replicated by others.”

Project aims included improving the recycling capacity and facilities; raising the volume and quality of recycling while reducing residual waste capacity; increasing awareness on how to recycle bulky items, WEEE and textiles; embed use of bin weighing technology; and achieve a cost reduction of £500,000 during the first two years and each one after.

Sessions were arranged with managing agents and building managers to understand how collections worked, where improvements could be made and challenges that may arise with service changes. All apartments were mapped, and information on managers and agents was audited to ensure adequate containers and collection frequency.

As a result of the project, a best practice guide has been developed and registered social landlords have re-evaluated their focus on recycling.

enva wood logo green

enva wood logo green

The project was backed by a communications plan, including leaflets, social media and doorknocking. Meanwhile, the council’s bin weighing system allowed for live tracking of vehicles, recording of collections and monitoring by building, as well as automated feedback on any collection issues encountered.


  • Brent Council
  • Cheshire West & Chester Council
  • Hackney Council
  • Islington Council
  • Lewisham Council
  • re3
  • Surrey Environment Partnership
  • Tewkesbury Borough Council

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