Commercial waste recycling collections guide

Commercial waste recycling collections 

This guide provides information for local authorities (and their private and third sector partners) on the key steps involved in developing, managing, expanding and optimising a commercial recycling collection scheme. It covers all materials including food recycling. All key information from previous WRAP guidance documents on commercial recycling collections (including food) are included in here. 

Download the introduction

Customer needs should be at the heart of all decisions 
Services which are easy to use, flexible (in terms of frequency and containment), reliable, cost effective and provide environmental benefits are all important factors.

Achieve a higher recycling rate.
WRAP research shows that local authorities are more likely to achieve a higher recycling rate where recycling is cheaper than disposal and when recycling services are provided more than once per week and/or a wide range of materials are collected.

The full cost (link to section 5.1) of providing any services need to be fully understood and it should be acknowledged that introduction of a new recycling service may reduce income from another e.g. residual waste. An accounting system and customer database (link to 4.13) that is fit-for-purpose are essential. Early involvement of finance and other key stakeholders is important and it is recommended that a working group (link to section 3.1) is established. 

Download full cost section

A project plan 'checklist' (link to section 9) is provided to assist users through the process and the document is written in a logical sequence of the key steps to be taken.

Download project plan 'checklist' section 

Key section areas: 

  •  Drivers for local authorities (link to 2.1) to assist with developing the business case        
  • Understanding barriers to SMEs recycling (link to 2.3), including food waste, and how the service can be designed to overcome issues 
  • Understanding demand and surveying businesses (3.3)
  • Material quantities (link to 3.5) and composition f materials (link to 3.4)
  • Service planning considerations (link to 4.0) including collection methods (link to 4.9). vehicles (link to 4.4), staff resources (link to 4.1.2) and contamination (link to 4.10)
  • How and why to apportion waste/recycling quantities (link to 4.11) when household and commercial materials are co-collected
  • Costs (link to 5.0)
  • Income (link to 5.2) including charging structures/mechanisms (link to 5.6), material sales and quality considerations (link to 5.7) and contracts  
  • Sales and marketing (link to 6.0) including cost/benefit analysis of different marketing methods (link to 6.2) and WRAP tools and templates (link to 6.2.3)
  • Monitoring and improvement (link to 7,0)
  • The business recycling and waste services commitment (link to 8.0)








Download the full report or have a look at all the resources available on our Recycle Now Partners' website.