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The 80s called, they wanted their residual waste back!

If residual waste was a hairstyle, the mullet is probably the closest we'll get. Like yellow fruit in food, it should be allowed to remain in its decade.

If residual waste was a hairstyle, the mullet is probably the closest we'll get. Like yellow fruit in food, it should be allowed to remain in its decade. Beware though, the residual waste, like the mullet, has a tendency to creep up on its own if you don't actively work on the problem and visit your hairdresser regularly.

Let's delve into this metaphor and give tips on some of the hairdressers Bintel visited in his projects in 2023.

A quick search on Wikipedia tells us that the ice hockey hairstyle has probably been around as long as we've been generating residual waste. Even the Romans wrote texts about this hairy mess, so maybe we shouldn't blame the 80s so much after all.

We at Bintel are working on many projects to reduce residual waste across the Nordic region. How to go about it is often a rather complex thing to answer but here we list some of the insights the industry has given us.

What creates a lot of residual waste

In our projects, we see that there are many different factors that contribute to an increased amount of residual waste. In previous articles , we have described the relationship between structure and behavior, where the correlation between physical conditions and outcomes is clear. If you have a Recycling room that is "screwed" for a lot of residual waste, you also get just that. As you make your bed, you often get laid.

Below is a diagram showing the correlation between sorting and physical conditions for sorting. The black box "X-factor" shows Recycling room with similar conditions but with a large spread in the degree of sorting, so there are, of course, factors other than dimensioning that affect sorting.

External factors

In addition to a plethora of internal factors such as the number of apartments and tenants associated with a Recycling room, the age and income of the residents, turnover of tenants, etc., we have a bunch of external factors that affect the amount of residual waste in a Recycling room.

We see two of these external factors as having a direct and major impact on environmental spaces. We are talking about "The economy" and "General changes in buying behavior". These are examples of factors that force the industry to actively work with their Recycling room and recycling stations, if they want to avoid chaos and rampant residual waste in their Recycling room.
So, waste prevention and residual waste minimization is unfortunately not a one time fix, it requires continuous focus. Otherwise the problem we mentioned in the introduction will grow.

In our projects together with companies, municipalities and housing companies around our country, we see that the above factors make quite a mess when designing sorting stations and Recycling room.

What was a truth 5 years ago, perhaps should be seen with new eyes today. The change in buying behavior is reflected in data collected from FTI's recycling stations around the country. We write more about it in this article . In recent years, the collection of paper and plastic packaging has increased by 20-30%. Few of the approximately 1000 environmental rooms we measure are equipped for a continued increase.

Ok, that sounds difficult, so what is the plan?

With these conditions, building a sorting culture among residents can feel hopeless. Like building houses of cards on the Pågatåget train between Teckomatorp-Kävlinge.
What is required is structured and continuous work on the waste issue. And it doesn't have to be so difficult, most of what we see you working on in the industry actually has a measurable effect.

Some examples of simple actions that make a difference:

Resizing
The first steps we take in our process towards SUB100 ZeroRest Waste is to adjust the capacity of the environmental room. This is basically to ensure that there is space in the bins for the recycling fractions, and the possibility of excessive residual waste quantities is limited.
We see residual waste reductions of up to 20% in our projects with these initial efforts.

Bulky waste and big bags
Another structural intervention that seems to have a measurable effect is to limit the size of what can be thrown in the residual waste. This can be done by locking the lid of the residual waste bin, and providing the lid with bin lids. This way, Christmas trees, car tires or large bags of unsorted waste do not end up in the residual waste containers.
From this we see a residual waste reduction of around another 10%.

We work with a lot of creative housing companies and municipalities, we are happy to share more such insights on what works.

It may seem like an eternal struggle to keep residual waste away. But if you start working on the issue in a structured way, and allow people in your organization to have the resources and time to take the issue seriously, it will soon become as natural as going to the hairdresser on the Friday before payday.

Data shows that almost everyone who actively works with their Recycling room gets better sorting. Regardless of initial conditions.

Or as our friend MacGyver would say:

"You can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it"

Related customer cases

Here you will find customer cases with similar topics and applications described in the article.

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