The possibility of handing in hazardous waste day or night removes the barrier of not having time to go to the recycling station to hand in this waste type.
A circular economy requires for harmful chemicals and substances to be phased out. However, they will be present in society for years to come since they can be found in products that will not face end of life for many years. Thus, products containing harmful chemicals must be collected and treated in a safe way. To maximize collection and correct treatment of hazardous waste Kolding Municipality’s Waste Management Department Redux introduced the possibility for citizens and companies to hand in hazardous waste day and night on local recycling stations (where there was already 24-7 access through a Waste App or SMS). The easier it is to hand in and sort waste, the more waste is handed in and sorted correctly.
Using the Waste App people can open a hatch in the building where hazardous waste is stored securely. An empty box arrives by a conveyor belt, waste is put in the box, a button is pushed, the hatch closes and the waste is transported to safe storage via the conveyor belt.
The service was run as a pilot project on one local recycling station in a town with a smaller population (approximately 5,000 citizens) from January 2019 to December 2019 and was used a total of 2,100 times. The result was satisfying and thus it was decided to extend the service to the other recycling stations from March 2020. Between March 2020 and June 2020 the service has been used more than 2,000 times across four local recycling stations.
Project coordinator (pilot project): 250 hours
Project coordinator (upscaling): 200 hours
Other employees (pilot + upscaling): 300 hours
Total salary cost: approx. 30,000 €
Establishment costs: approx. 225,000 €
Total cost (funded by the Waste Management Department’s budget): approx. 255,000 €
Evidence of success
June 2020: 25,900 people signed up for the service.
March-June 2020: the service has been used in unmanned hours more than 2,000 times on four recycling stations (municipality of 94,000 citizens). Unfortunately there is no data on how many tons hazardous waste is collected through the service to be compared with total amount collected and previous years to see if we are collecting more hazardous waste due to increasing and easing the access for collection.
The main challenge was the technology but once in place it went smooth. It is important to explain to employees the function and how safe it is to use. We recommend surveillance as a part of the installation and of course complying with legislation on collecting and storing hazardous waste.
Potential for learning or transfer
Harmful chemicals and hazardous waste are everywhere in the world and collecting it in the first place is important. However, increasing the access for citizens and potentially companies to hand in this type of waste is also important. 24-7 type services increase access but not necessarily the correct sorting. The latter is a matter of citizen behaviour and general knowledge about and options for sorting correctly.
In general 24-7 services are great for the users. We want to maximize the citizens’ options for handing in waste in general. Then follows a huge work about educating and guiding/nudging citizens to perform correct sorting to an ever growing extend of correct waste sorting.
If the territory has knowledge that a significant portion of hazardous waste is not being collected because the access to locations for handing it in (e.g. recycling stations) are too far away, opens too late or closes too soon a 24-7 type of service for hazardous waste might be a solution.
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