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Introduction to this document

Waste data summary

If you’re serious about reducing waste and improving recycling rates, one of the first steps is to record how much waste is currently being disposed of. Use our waste data summary to note your findings.

Less waste

When implementing a waste reduction strategy the first question to ask is “What waste do we create now and how is it disposed of?” To answer this you’ll need to identify where and how waste arises on your site, what goes into your bins and how they’re collected. You can then use our Waste Data Summary to create a log of your waste streams in more detail.

By using it over a long period of time you can show whether your total waste has increased or decreased, and demonstrate how successful you have been in increasing the proportion recycled.

Use the resulting data to explain to staff and customers how you are doing in terms of your green targets. It should also highlight areas where you are doing less well and where there’s scope for improvement.

What’s covered?

Our document is set out as a table on a single page. In the left hand column there is a list of waste types beginning with general mixed waste (landfill), followed by recyclables. We’ve selected the most commonly recycled waste types but you can alter these as you wish to suit your business. The list ends with Other” with space for you to write down any other items you might recycle such as particular metals, cotton or batteries.


Across the top of the table are five columns. The last of these gives the total Weight in tonnes” and the other four help you to calculate that figure. The variables are: (A) the number of bin uplifts per year; (B) the bin volume; (C) how full bins are when collected; and (D) the “Volume to weight conversion factor”. To calculate tonnage you must calculate A x B x C x D.

Example. You have weekly uplifts of a 1.1 cubic metre bin containing general office waste (which weighs 0.5 tonnes per cubic metre). The average bin collected is 90% full (a fill rate of 0.9). The annual tonnage is 52 x 1.1 x 0.9 x 0.5 = 25.74 tonnes.

Note. The volume to weight conversion factors for different types of waste are available from the Environment Agency. Your waste carrier may also be able to supply this information.