Dawn In The Surrey Hills

Creating a greener, cleaner Surrey

Surrey Environment Partnership Review April 2019 – March 2020

Activity and achievements

Managing Surrey’s waste: Data driven interventions

Tying a Plastic Bag Filled with Food Scraps in Waste BinEngaging with residents to change their behaviours on waste and recycling can be done most effectively when we know which specific households or areas have the potential to improve. Engagement activity can then be focused on those residents rather than more widely.

A scoping study identified a range of potential interventions in 2019 and partners were asked which projects they would be able to participate in on a trial basis. The aim is to trial and evaluate different interventions which, if successful, can be rolled out in other areas.

The work was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic but prior to that the following progress was made:

Food waste

  • Food waste data was analysed in detail for a number of authorities and revealed some variation in tonnage
    captured by round.
  • However, anecdotal information indicated that this might not always be because of lack of participation. For example, some rounds have more single person households.
  • It was then identified that exception data recorded through the in-cab system could be a more reliable indicator of participation. This data occurs when a crew member records that a household has not presented its bin for collection.
  • So, interventions and messages will be trialed according to the data available in different areas. Some will use broader messages to target households in low performing rounds and others will use exception data for messages such as ‘We’ve noticed you are not using your food caddy’ and ‘We’ve noticed you’re not using your food caddy every week’.

Garden waste

Person raking leaves in garden, low sectionData analysis on garden waste was also undertaken to identify residents who don’t currently have a collection service subscription and live the furthest away from a recycling centre. The intervention message for these residents would highlight the convenience of signing up for the service.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in garden waste subscriptions. As a result, data will need to be reexamined when the project is ready to be taken off hold to ensure the collection services have sufficient capacity.


  • Last slice of greasy take out pizza.Work on contamination interventions has started in the joint contract authorities (Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Surrey Heath and Woking).
  • We have identified where improvements to the quality and availability of data would be required to use for targeted work.
  • This includes the use of in-cab technology to record bins which can’t be emptied because of contamination. It also includes the sampling data received from materials recycling facilities.
  • An assessment of the causes of contamination across the process flow (from households disposing of waste to it being processed) was undertaken and issues seen on the ground have highlighted that there are mitigations that can be put in place with the current information we have.
  • A package of process improvements to reduce dry mixed recycling contamination in street level and flats properties is being devised to trial in Woking, including:

> Ongoing crew training.

> Infrastructure improvements at flats.

> Resident communication when contamination is identified.

> Efficient contract monitoring.

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.