Understanding residual waste composition from three disposal types


The focus on increasing diversion rates and material capture both nationally and at the local authority level has become increasingly important over the last 20 years with residual waste contributing to emissions both at material manufacture and end disposal points. Brighton and Hove City Council procured an in-depth residual waste analysis to understand the materials that could be diverted into current recycling and composting schemes, as well as those that could be included in future schemes.




The residual waste from 3 disposal points were included in the project. These were kerbside household, flats and large communal bins located on specific streets, which both householders and the wider public can access. Multiple samples from all 3 were either collected by the M·E·L Waste Insight’s team or delivered by the authority’s contractor over 3 weeks of fieldwork in September 2020.

The material was categorised into 58 different material types and their weights recorded on pre-prepared sheets. Food was categorised into avoidable and unavoidable, loose and packaged. This categorisation provided further insight into the types of food that were disposed of; over buying, and over preparing being in the avoidable category for example.


The audit was successful in determining the types and quantities of materials that could have been diverted from the general waste bins to the recycling and garden waste streams. The project also showed the types and quantities of specific materials where waste reduction was possible such as different types of food waste.