Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Christine Cole


Developing sustainable household waste management - a Local Authority approach to zero waste

Project title

Efficiency and Effectiveness of Domestic Waste Management


Serco & Charnwood Borough Council


Academic Supervisors:
Professor Andrew Wheatley
Dr Mohammed Quddus
Dr Mohamed Osmani

Industrial Supervisors:
Mr N Greenhalgh (Charnwood Borough Council)
Miss K Kay (Charnwood Borough Council)

Director of Research:
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2010 - 2014

Efficiency and Effectiveness of Domestic Waste Management

This four year EngD project commenced in October 2010 with two industrial sponsors, Charnwood Borough Council and their waste management contractor, Serco.  

The overall aim of the research project is to investigate, identify and recommend options that will improve the effectiveness of waste management within Charnwood Borough and will help Charnwood Borough Council with its aspirations to be a “Zero Waste Borough”. The research is split across the broad themes of household waste and recycling collection and household waste management and investigates  household waste management practices, performances and different approaches taken locally, nationally and internationally to the handling, storage, collection, movement and treatment of household waste and recycling.  

Context and Background

Charnwood Borough Council are responsible for the collection and disposal of domestic waste within their Authority area. This function is currently sub-contracted to Serco. As part of Serco's waste contract there is funding available to investigate options for developing and optimising waste collection, recycling and waste management processes. This EngD would be held with Serco but run in partnership with Charnwood Borough Council to develop techniques to help optimise these processes, and will be spilt across two broad themes of waste collection, and recycling and waste management.

Aims and Objectives

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of waste management and the logistics of waste handling within Charnwood.To investigate and review recycling across other authorities of similar size and nature to Charnwood and investigate within Charnwood householder preferences for recycling and to review developing waste minimisation technologies, with the aim of establishing current best practice in waste management. To evaluate the current waste stream within Charnwood to identify areas of large waste production and assess the techniques that can be used to reduce this. To assess the current logistics of waste collection within the borough to establish and then use techniques that can be used to optimise waste collection routes and handling processes to assess their transport and sustainability impact. Produce tools to allow the optimisation of improved collection and recycling /handling regimes to move towards the requirements of a Zero Waste Strategy, and to guide future activities in waste minimisation and management within Charnwood to improve sustainability.

Method and Current Status

It is anticipated the following methods will be used:- Case studies and interviews at other authorities to establish best practice in waste handling and collection processes. Surveys of households in Charnwood and reviews of existing data to establish best practice and stakeholder expectations of waste management. A review of the waste streams via waste weight-data to establish areas of poor waste re-cycling To survey the fuel carbon emissions (to current approved methods) of vehicle use on the waste collection routes and assessment of optimum route design possibly using Vehicle tracking, smart IT: or GIS to optimise routes, safety, and times of movement /street risk. To combine this data to produce techniques to improve the above processes

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

To develop tools and systems that will allow the optimisation of vehicle use within waste collection and develop strategies to improve waste collection and increase recycling to reduce non-recycled waste produced in the Borough

Cole,C., Osmani,M., Quddos,M.A., & Wheatley,A.D., 2011, Household Waste Management in the UK: Current Practices and Challenges, Proceedings of the 2011 Wastes – Solutions, Treatments and Opportunities International Conference, Guimarães, 12-14 September 2011, pp. 315.  ISBN: 978 989 97429-0-1



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+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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