Covid-19: The tipping point for household waste recycling

Remember when visits to ‘the tip’ meant never-ending wait times, inescapable traffic jams, and A LOT of hard work?

Well, you’ll probably be glad to hear that those days are over. Thankfully, scalable, cloud-based booking technology has revolutionised the way waste disposal is managed.

Initially deployed to facilitate the safe reopening of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, online booking solutions have enabled sites across the UK to safely manage capacity, encourage social distancing, and discourage unnecessary site visits.

Interestingly, due to overwhelmingly positive feedback, and the sizable reduction in traffic congestion, booking solutions initially adopted as a temporary response to COVID-19 are now widely regarded as an essential, long-term tool to ensure the efficiency of HWRCs.

In fact, given the clear improvements associated with the implementation of intuitive booking technology, it stands to reason that the old, inefficient ways of managing waste disposal can be thrown out and replaced by a new, technology-driven approach.

But how exactly does booking technology help?

By controlling capacity and resourcing:

Waste scheduling solutions enable local authorities to autonomously manage the number of residents visiting their sites at any given time. Importantly, this helps to reduce wait times and drastically reduce traffic congestion in the local area. Using one centralised system, staff can easily control the number and length of bookings and set rules about what can be tipped and when.

By improving the delivery of public services:

As well as helping to reduce wait times, cloud-based solutions allow residents to book and amend visits 24/7, across multiple devices - this eliminates the need to laboriously schedule bookings through call centres governed by inflexible opening hours. Instead, local authorities can offer residents a quick, easy-to-use technology that enables them to schedule visits at a time most convenient to them. Not only does this improve the resident experience, but as a result of process automation, valuable council resources can be re-allocated elsewhere.

Using the same system, employees can generate automated pre-visit instructions to inform residents of any procedures they must follow before - or during - their site visit. Not only does this improve communication with residents, but it also helps to reduce any potential confusion, ensuring a seamless site visit and a reduction in complaints. Usefully, automated booking reminders can also be generated, helping to reduce no-shows.

By increasing operational efficiency:

Scalable, cloud-based booking technology delivers full process automation, meaning that millions of bookings – across multiple sites - can be managed autonomously using one centralised system. In fact, with integrations to the latest ANPR technology, menial staff duties can be eliminated from the waste disposal process, freeing up employees to focus on other ways of serving residents.

Using flexible, enterprise-grade booking technology, councils can apply custom mandatory questions, set unique booking parameters, and easily alter their appointment structure to maximise efficiency across multiple sites. Local authorities can also leverage intuitive appointment data to gain insight into how to optimise their service.

The proof is in the waste bookings

bookinglab are helping over 50 Household Waste Recycling Centres across the UK to control capacity, efficiently allocate resources, and eliminate traffic queues. In 2020 alone, millions of waste appointments were completed using solutions delivered by bookinglab.

Case in point:

Partnering with bookinglab, a large County Council has avoided an estimated 20 miles of traffic-related congestion. In fact, despite taking over 19,000 bookings within the first two weeks, queues across all 20 sites have been eliminated. Due to this, the disruption caused by waste disposal is now virtually non-existent!

bookinglab’s easy-to-use solution was a big hit with residents, nearly all of the allocated slots were booked within 25 minutes of going live. However, thanks to simple, real-time reporting and an easily adaptable back end, site managers could quickly release new appointment slots, across multiple sites, to meet this spike in demand.

Using this solution, residents can book a visit directly through the council website in just a few clicks. They can also search for their local site by postcode, make sure the waste they want to deposit is accepted, and even check the local traffic situation. Importantly, for residents without access to the internet, an integrated telephone booking service is also available, ensuring that waste disposal is accessible to all residents.

But that’s not all

Working with West Berkshire Council, bookinglab delivered a robust solution to facilitate the safe reopening of two Household Waste Recycling Centres. In line with government guidelines, the devised solution enabled local authorities to safely manage capacity, enforce social distancing, and send automated pre-appointment instructions. Upon going live, the system facilitated over 5,000 bookings in its first week. If you’d like to read more about this particular solution, please click here.

The re3 Council Partnership manages two recycling centres in Bracknell and Reading – both sites are well utilised, often recording over 1,500 visits a day. Working with bookinglab, re3 sought to develop a long-term booking solution to improve resident experience and increase the recycling rate across both sites. Interestingly, at the time of engagement, re3 had recently introduced an in-house booking system. However, in partnering with bookinglab, re3 sought to overcome several limitations that were negatively affecting the resident experience and threatening the long-term sustainability of their booking system.

Another happy customer

bookinglab have helped re3 improve site efficiency by enabling the use of real-time data; among other things, this allows residents to easily cancel unwanted bookings, making them instantly available to other residents. Over 2000 cancellations are made each month, allowing both sites to operate more efficiently.

Sarah Innes, re3 Monitoring and Performance Officer, adds that:

bookinglab have been happy to work with re3 to make the new booking system as effective as possible for all users of the system, including residents, site staff and office workers.

Trusted by many

The above are just a few practical examples - bookinglab are working with many other local authorities to revolutionise how waste disposal is managed across the UK.

Find out more

To learn more about bookinglab’s waste scheduling solution, get in touch today:, or book a demo.