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Delivering waste management service efficiencies through the use of GIS and route optimisation in South Staffordshire

Exemplar Award Winner - Citizen Award 2013: South Staffordshire Council

Waste management is a primary function delivered by councils. It is a vital service but has the potential to be very costly. Using spatial data intelligently to review and revise the waste routes has proved successful in South Staffordshire Council as this case study explores

The issue

The largest valued contract South Staffordshire Council manages is the waste management contract. The Waste Management team at the council were required to implement major service changes within a short space of time. This involved the distribution of blue wheeled bins to 42,500 properties across a very rural district within a four-week period.

The second phase of the project involved the introduction of 150 new waste and recycling collection routes, designed to maximise collection efficiencies.


The project, delivered through two phases, involved:

  • the planned distribution of 42,500 new wheeled bins
  • a full evaluation of existing collection routes
  • the development and implementation of 150 new routes in preparation for the new principal disposal facility.

Distribution of the new bins was planned, using the Local Land and Property Gazetteer as the basis. The structure of the data meant the LLPG was vital in identifying properties which were excluded from receiving the bins, i.e. communal dwellings. Once the properties were identified, maps were created for the waste crews to deliver the bins.

The second phase of the project involved a review of the collection routes, and roll out of new waste collection routes to the waste collection teams. The data were utilised from the first phase by integrating them into route optimisation software. Additional data were added, including collection times, assisted collections information, disposal sites and participation rates.

Working closely with the waste contractor, the council developed 150 individual routes for the collection of non-recyclable, recyclable and organic waste to optimise existing collection routes. This involved a collection change for two thirds of properties across the district, approximately 30,000 properties, and, as such, further promotion has taken place to communicate the changes. The information was also shared via an interactive tool so that residents could easily review their new collection routes.

The project used:

  • the Local Land and Property Gazetteer
  • OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network (ITN)
  • 1:10 000 Scale Raster
  • 1: 25 000 Scale Raster
  • 1: 50 000 Scale Colour Raster
  • OS VectorMap District


The project has delivered significant tangible and intangible savings:

  • improved route efficiencies have been instrumental in delivering contract savings of £380,000 per annum for at least the next seven years
  • 99.7% of blue wheeled bins were successfully delivered direct to properties across a rural district within the four week scheduled window, attributable to the spatial approach taken to the task
  • the weight of material collected for recycling at the kerbside has increased by 25%. Extrapolated over the financial year 2013/14, an additional 2,250 tonnes of household waste will be diverted from landfill with clear environmental and economic benefits for the Staffordshire tax payer
  • service satisfaction levels for waste and recycling services, as monitored by the annual Resident’s Panel Survey, have reached 94%, the highest figure yet recorded for this service
  • during the rollout of the blue wheeled bin, the bespoke online tool received 4,000 unique page hits within a four-week period. This represented a significant channel shift for the council from telephone queries, with onward efficiencies.

This project represents a key shift in the approach and methodology of waste management services at South Staffordshire Council and this has been wholly facilitated by the use of GIS and the LLPG.

Why this project won

We selected South Staffordshire’s project to win the Citizen Award and it was also voted the overall winner by the delegates because it was a great example of how to use local address and street data to deliver real, measurable and sustainable benefits to citizens, while enabling the local authority to make significant cost savings over time. A truly deserving winner!

Sponsor of the Citizen Award

Savania Chinamaringa, Data Exploitation Manager, Strategy and Portfolio at Defra

Authority view

"The use of route optimisation, GIS and addressing has enabled the council to devise and deliver appropriate waste management solutions that have improved the customer experience and delivered substantial efficiencies. Waste Management will continue to utilise these datasets to test objectively future scenarios and manage professionally any subsequent service changes."

—Daniel Roberts, Waste Management Officer

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