Feature: Common Challenges and Disputes

Managing Waste: Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity

Written by Christian Phipps, Sustainability Manager at FirstPort


Let’s talk about waste. Not the most glamorous of topics, but nevertheless it’s an important part of looking after our customers’ homes. Managing waste – particularly at larger developments – can be a challenge, and one that property managers need to be on top of in light of the increasing trend of online shopping and home delivery.

Our shopping habits were arguably already heading towards the flexibility and ease of online rather than in-store, and the pandemic has clearly hit fast forward on this. We know for our residents, it can feel much easier, and for some safer, to shop from the comfort of their sofa.

The peaks in high volume of waste at our developments, unsurprisingly correlates with parcel management pressures.

The end of the year – as we prepare for Christmas – is typically a very busy period when it comes to parcel deliveries. In fact, an estimated incredible 55.6million packages were delivered to homes across the UK as a result of Black Friday (November), resulting in a massive increase in household waste across the country. Our own data backs this up, with us seeing the number of parcels delivered in the month of November 2021 to one of our largest managed developments - Nine Elms Point in Vauxhall - increase by more than 95% compared to the same time last year, with a 103% increase over the week following Black Friday.

Supporting Residents to Manage Waste

At some of our larger developments, we manage over 20 bin stores and in excess of 200 general waste and recycling bins, so we’re well prepared to support residents to manage their excess waste. But we know that disposing of waste in an environmentally friendly way can sometimes feel daunting to our residents. Research of over 2,000 nationally representative people conducted by FirstPort in November 2021 found that despite good intentions, over a third (37%) of householders say they struggle to recycle as much as they want to. And more than a quarter (28%) admit to letting their packaging waste build up for over a week, with one in 10 (11%) leaving it to clutter their house for two weeks or more. Worryingly, more than one in five Brits (21%) are still confused about what they can and can’t recycle and 6% don’t recycle at all.

As the leading property management company in the UK, we’re always looking for ways we can support our customers with challenges, and this includes our latest partnership with Recycle Now, the national recycling campaign for England, managed by global NGO WRAP, to help give consumers the confidence to recycle their post-Christmas waste in a sustainable way.

Top tips for recycling your post-Christmas waste:

  • Recycle it right – Flatten and fold cardboard, wash and squash plastic and place them in the correct bins.
  • Strip the packaging - Before recycling, remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows, as these cannot be recycled.
  • Remove the plastic – Tape, polystyrene, and plastic inserts need be removed from cardboard packaging before it can be recycled.
  • Cardboard compost - Egg boxes, and rolls from kitchen towel and toilet rolls, can be home composted, so if you’re out of room, why not try your hand at composting at home?
  • The scrunch test – Do the scrunch test! If your local authority does collect wrapping paper for recycling, only non-foil paper will be accepted. To check, scrunch up the paper and if it doesn't spring back, it is non-foil and can be recycled.
  • Reuse your boxes – Cardboard boxes can have wonderfully creative uses. Think about ways to reuse and restyle them, from makeshift playhouses for children, to extra storage in your home.
  • Recycle old Christmas lights – Old fairy lights can be recycled at household waste recycling centres. Some local authorities collect small electricals as part of their recycling collections and may also provide collection bins at other sites too, e.g., at supermarkets.
  • Last year’s Christmas decorations – Glass baubles are not recyclable. Broken glass baubles should be disposed of by wrapping and putting them in general waste. Plastic baubles are usually made from types of plastic not widely collected yet in the UK, so should also go in the general waste.
  • Batteries - All those new toys and gadgets mean more batteries to recycle. Some local authorities collect batteries bagged separately with household recycling but there are also many battery recycling points in shops around town.
  • Find your local recycling point – Not sure where to take your packaging waste? Visit www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling to find your nearest recycling point.

FirstPort is the UK’s leading residential property services provider. With more than 40 years’ experience, we work with over 1,000 resident managed developments, helping RTM and RMC Directors meet their management and legal obligations, all while delivering a great service for residents too.


Share this page on social media