Resource Use

Wheelie Box could give NI £4m boost

Anna Lo, South Belfast MLA and Chair of the Environment Committee meets with Bryson Recycling Director Eric Randall to try out the ‘Wheelie Box’.
Northern Irish councils could save up to £4 million while boosting the country’s economy through universal adoption of a stacked recycling box system, says Bryson Recycling.

Bryson, which currently provides a weekly recycling collection service to over 170,000 homes in the country, has this week launched ‘The Wheelie Box’, a stacked recycling box system designed in partnership with Straight plc.

The system comprises three stacked recycling boxes, of 55, 55 and 40 litres from bottom to top. All three boxes have slits so that material can be put in without unstacking, and all fit onto a wheeled trolley for increased ease of movement.

Waste container manufacturer Straight also makes the similar Trolibocs system that has been rolled out across several Welsh local authorities (LAs) in recent years.

Bryson says that if all Northern Irish LAs were to adopt the new model, which enables more separate collection of materials, more high-quality recyclate could be collected, with more processing being done locally, which could bring ‘tens of millions’ of added value to the Northern Irish economy.

It also says that councils could save between £5-10 per household every year with the system meaning that if every household in Northern Ireland was given the Wheelie Box system, savings of £4 million could be achieved nationwide.


A trial of the Wheelie Box system is currently ongoing in over 11,000 households across Antrim and Newtownabbey, Lisburn and Castlereagh and Belfast City Council areas.

Trialling of the system in Newtonabbey began in February 2014. The Wheelie Box system provided an additional 40 litres of recycling capacity a week, while residual capacity was reduced by 30 litres. To date, Bryson reports that the pilot has resulted in a 30 per cent increase in recycling tonnage, an 18 per cent increase in participation, and a 25 per cent reduction in residual waste tonnage to landfill, with satisfaction levels ‘over 98 per cent’.

Northern Ireland’s recycling rate was last reported as 44.9 per cent, and Bryson believes that this could be taken above 60 per cent if more LAs adopt the Wheelie Box model.

System could benefit councils and local reprocessors

Eric Randall, Director of Bryson Recycling, said: “The Wheelie Box design is user friendly and provides room to recycle a very wide range of items, and because their quality is maintained the majority can be recycled locally.

“It is also an excellent example of how a social enterprise model can deliver high-quality, efficient and cost-effective services. In fact, councils in Wales, Scotland and England are looking to this as a reference point and the Welsh Government has adopted it as their blueprint approach for recycling.

“We met with the [Northern Ireland] Assembly’s Environment Committee to demonstrate the model, and we are also urging local councils to promote and support a circular economy approach to recycling.

“This method ensures that councils can meet their 50 per cent EU recycling targets. Recycling quality will also improve, meaning that local reprocessors will have access to the high-quality materials they need for manufacturing products such as egg boxes, plastic pipes and glass packaging, whilst boosting the economy and creating long-term employment opportunities.”

More information about the Wheelie Box system is available at Bryson Recycling’s website or in Resource’s in-depth article about the trials in Newtonabbey

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