About This Live Project

Sheffield Homes is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) set up and owned by Sheffield City Council to manage council housing in Sheffield. As our client, Sheffield Homes offered us a list of potential project briefs for us to choose from, all of which deal with important issues and concerns regarding the current council housing stock in Sheffield. Our group decided to embark upon developing innovative solutions to address the important issue of waste disposal in flatted council estates. Our hope is that our efforts can offer strong design initiatives on the topic whilst creating awareness and incentive on the importance of recycling and proper disposal of household waste.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Where does it all go?

These diagrams explain visually how our waste is processed in Sheffield, looking in particular at Sheffield Homes' stock. They show not only the path of the stuff we throw away, but also the flow of money between tenants, local authorities, companies and non-for-profit organisations, revealing their functions and interests. They're compiled from a wide-range of sources, and hold some quite unexpected twists and surprises.

We're looking at ways to publish these files in large format so visitors can spot mistakes, or information which is missing. If you'd like to comment or ask us to email them to you, please let us know below by clicking on 'comment'.




Diagram 1 / This is the 'default' for many homes in Sheffield who have a black bin and a blue bin. Apart from these blue bins, recycling doesn't really appear on the radar  - but note that Veolia are recovering steel and energy even from the black bags via the incinerator (ERF).




Diagram 2 / This is a minority 'best case' scenario in Sheffield. It illustrates a rare condition where a tenant has a black bin, a blue bin, a green bin. But note that in order to get the left over black bag waste down to a minimum, you need (in most cases) to have a car and the motivation and storage space to collect and take your plastic, metal, textiles and glass in separate containers.



Diagram 3 / By contrast, this is the default in flatted estates in Sheffield. Everything goes in the black bag.




Diagram 4 / Many of the pilot projects which have looked at introducing recycling to flatted estates have used this method; nationally it is the norm. It fits the 'recycling as an added-extra' model: placing big supermarket-style recycling tubs in the grounds of estates. The problem is that it relies upon the motivation (and, again, the storage space in flats) to collect waste, carry it out, and sort it into the bins.  It asks for a high price in users' time. In areas where people are motivated to recycle (notably the better-off parts of London), it has worked ok, but everywhere else, understandably, it is dramatically underused. We would suggest that just using publicity campaigns to persuade people to take more effort and use these facilities is a hard-work way to make an impact on this stalemate- and probably one which is doomed to failure. We have to look for alternative systems that make recycling and responsible waste disposal compulsory and easier.  In other words: the default.


There are lots of people trying to do this, and there are no obvious or straightforward solutions. It's proving extremely tough (but interesting) as a design challenge. In order to do it, we've been getting beyond the issue of 'recycling' and zooming-in to look in detail at how waste disposal on Sheffield's flatted estates is, or isn't working...


7 comments:

Oliver Cartwright said...

Great Post Al, sadly I can't expand/zoom into the images by clicking them... :(

Alastair Parvin said...

I know. Any idea how you do that?

Anonymous said...

Sorry cannot read the diagrams -too small

Anonymous said...

Kerbside is possibly the only effective collection system.Although I suspect the folks without access to transport tend to be low creators of waste -old folks,disabled and poor people.

smriti m said...

i am doing research on the waste disposal .. would be of great help if i could see the zoomed version of these files ...

Carlos said...

Please can you add full res versions of these I'd be interested in seeing them. Thanks.

Simon Petty said...

great project. Did you consider reuse before recycle due to the high energy comsumption of the reprocessing? any chance of a higher res copy?