Post-COVID clear outs have led to a rapid rise in the amount of rubbish residents have taken to their household waste recycling centres. But finding out about opening hours, what materials are accepted and whether there are any COVID restrictions has led to confusion and frustration. Your Dsposal has come up with a smart solution to create an easy and consistent way for people to find out how to tip their trash thanks to funding from the Open Data Institute (ODI) via its Innovate UK funded R&D programme.
The initiative will gather essential information from every local authority in the country and work with stakeholders to present this in an accessible format, free and online for anyone to use. The waste data project is led by Your Dsposal, a newly formed social enterprise founded by waste tech company Dsposal. Following user numbers to their website growing by more than 600% as lockdown restrictions eased, they saw a need to improve the information available to the public on local authority waste and recycling services. The website, which has a directory of licensed waste sites, including around 500 of England’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) has received enquiries and emails from residents unsure of the new procedures at their local recycling centres.
The funding will allow Your Dsposal to work with stakeholders from across the UK to develop an open data standard which will collate and harmonise types of data around HWRCs with the aim of making it simpler and easier for local authorities to share this information. The project will also release an open dataset of this information so that it can be accessed and used by anyone to streamline and improve the number and ways this information is provided to the public.
The project proposal was supported by Ecosurety, Resource Futures and Hull City Council.
Robbie Staniforth, Head of Policy at Ecosurety, commented: “It is so pleasing to see funding for this work being granted by the Open Data Institute. Making progress with turning waste into resource relies on good quality, open-source data. This project is particularly timely as having smarter, dynamic data about opening times and waste accepted would have been useful in relation to disruptions caused by Covid-19. Improving the data standard will help to build future resilience to such crises, allowing citizens better access to information about public services. Your Dsposal deserve kudos for their approach that puts the sharing of information at the heart of this project. This is an area where collaboration, and not competition, is urgently needed.”
Adam Jennison, ICT Principal Lead (Smart City) said, “Hull City Council is currently introducing a Smart City platform which will bring together many different data sets, the purpose of which is to improve people’s lives. The connection may not seem relevant at first but data standards are of utmost importance as they allow data to be moved, compared and processed easily, reducing effort, cost and time. This project will go some way to fill a gap in data standards in a very important aspect of everyone’s lives, that of waste. Your Dsposal’s project bid was a strong fit with Hull City Council’s Smart City Strategy outcome and we are delighted that they have been successful and look forward to working with them throughout this project.”
Director of Your Dsposal, Sophie Walker said, “Your Dsposal is committed to empowering people to make better decisions with their resources and waste by increasing transparency and accountability. People are confused about how to do the right thing, we know people are looking for this information and we want to make it easier for them to find it. The great thing about this project is that it won’t just benefit Your Dsposal, but because both the data standard and the dataset will be open these assets can be used by anyone.
“We are thrilled to be supported by the ODI, and the Stimulus Fund allows us to accelerate our work and tap into expert advice. We’re delighted to have gathered the support we have already, and we urge other local authorities and stakeholders who are interested to get in touch with us.”
The Open Data Institute has announced funding via its Innovate UK funded R&D programme for seven projects that explore approaches that enable trustworthy and ethical sharing of data to help citizens and businesses lower their impact on the environment, improve public services and save lives. The projects have each received funding between £15-20k, and will conclude their research at the end of January 2021.