Designing New Routes for Service Change with Minimal Disruption

8th August 2017

In July 2015, Torfaen County Borough Council (Torfaen) made changes to their refuse service, replacing 240L wheeled bins with smaller 140L bins, in order to increase its recycling performance.

The additional recycling collected meant more recycling vehicles were anticipated to be required on both passes (weekly food and fortnightly card collected on split-back RCVs and weekly collections of other dry recyclable materials on RRVs). We were commissioned by WRAP Cymru (Waste & Resources Action Programme – Wales) to design the new collection routes.

The aim of routing is to design efficient routes and distribute work fairly between crews. To achieve this, we undertook data collection and detailed analysis to determine the metrics for both services before designing the new routes in FleetRoute™ bespoke route optimisation software (one of our Council Tools).

As Torfaen preferred an approach that caused minimal disruption, we made sure collections days, crewing levels and collection frequencies were maintained. We also tried to minimise the changes to existing routes as much as possible; knowing that the fewer changes we made, the smaller the impact of change on the service and staff.

The new routes ensured a smooth roll-out of new services and Torfaen now collects nearly 1,000 tonnes more recyclable material per annum since implementing the service change – with 12,257 tonnes collected in 2014/2015 and 13,282 tonnes in 2015/2016.


More recycling vehicles were anticipated for Torfaen’s service change. Picture of RRV courtesy of Torfaen County Borough Council

Our Senior Consultant Claire Walker, who designed the new routes, said:

“One of the best parts of this route optimisation project was working with the Torfaen team, who were really engaged with the process, had good data and knew their service really well. We’re pleased they’ve achieved the uplift in recycling they were hoping for.”

Since undertaking the routing we have assisted Torfaen with two further projects assessing the impact of using alternative tip sites, the results of which fed into their business plan and led to a decision to secure a long-term lease on a unit for the bulking and baling of recycling.

Group Leader of Strategic Waste Operations and Neighbourhood Planning & Public Protection at Torfaen County Council, Cynon Edwards, commented:

“The engagement we had from the beginning between Eunomia and the waste collection staff was critical to the project. Since the rollout the rounds have worked very effectively with only minor changes required.”

More information about Eunomia’s routing support services can be found here.