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Case Code: OPER137
Case Length: 17 Pages 
Period: 2000-2018      
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority
Industry :Waste Management
Countries : United Kingdom
Themes: -
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
IT and Systems
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority –Challenges in Sustainable Waste Management

This case won the European Foundation of Management Development (EFMD) Case Writing Award 2018 in the 'Urban Transition Challenges' category
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Waste prevention was the Authority’s trusted weapon against environmental contamination. It believed that waste prevention significantly helped in combating additional waste. The entire vision of the Authority had been articulated into a clear policy draft, comprising several critical objectives (Refer to Exhibit II for GMWDA’s Policy Objectives). The policy objectives were essentially centered around four key themes. (Refer to Exhibit III for GMWDA’s 4 Key Themes)..
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The Authority’s initiatives were centered on the circular economy strategy . It modus operandi encompassing maintenance, repair, reuse, and recycle was designed to contribute to its mission of waste management....


The Authority designed several branding and marketing campaigns to deal with the apprehensions people had about second-hand goods through a theme called ‘previous loved’. The Authority brought the electronic goods also into the ambit of the second-hand market. It teamed up with the British Standards Institute which had introduced a Publicly Available Specification for Reuse of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (UEEE and WEEE). ..


The Authority set an ambitious target of 50% waste recycling across Greater Manchester by 2015 and 60% by 2025. A keen focus on quality materials for effective recycling of the waste was brought in as a key practice. According to the Authority, these targets were attainable only through resource efficiency and adequate access to secondary raw materials. Waste was broadly classified into kerb-side waste and household waste. While kerb-side waste was expected to contribute 40% of the recycled waste, the remaining 10% of the target 50%, was from households.


The Authority had the tall objective of reducing Greater Manchester’s landfills by 90% by 2015. This required improving awareness levels among the households and encouraging them to participate in the waste management and reduction process by preventing, reusing, recycling, and recovering wastes. These objectives could be achieved only with the help of various initiatives encompassing among other things, technological initiatives, campaigns, facilities, and infrastructure, awareness...


Motivating the public to participate in the waste management initiatives was a must to effect the change. The Authority needed to bring about the desired behavioral change that was essential and expected from the people in order to make such a big change initiative a success. While educating the people was one of the ways of making it happen, the Authority had designed a holistic program to bring about the desired behavioral change...


Waste hierarchy was a mechanism the Authority had conceptualized and implemented under which various articles were organized through a structured discipline of usage, which made sure that the objects were used to the utmost and diversion to the landfill was minimized (See Table II for Waste Hierarchy). It included various alternatives to disposing of waste and of using landfills, like encouraging second-hand buying, repairing, recycling, conversion into energy forms, etc...


The Authority supported businesses to plan and follow sustainable consumption and production strategy, towards reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering waste. As a part of the strategy, the Authority introduced leaner production methods, smarter purchasing methods, and innovative methods to waste recovery. Enworks was the Authority’s official Sustainable Consumption and Production delivery program...


The Authority had effective infrastructure to carry out the change through waste management. It had instilled as many as 20 HWRCs. A dedicated Materials Recovery Facility was meant to sort the kerb-side recyclable materials into various waste categories, from where they would be sent for recycling...


Contamination was one of the biggest challenges that the Authority faced. The Authority had laid down a communication strategy to communicate the change program about waste management. It designed the communication strategy in numerous formats (Refer to Exhibit VII for GMWDA’s Communication Strategy Principles)...


The Authority’s initiatives were continuously monitored. Several areas had reported low recycling rates, which indicated the need for offering incentives to encourage participation in the movement. It was a challenge to retain individuals’ participation in the absence of incentive schemes...


With the Authority and WCAs collectively only achieving 44.1% recycling by the end of 2016, there was a tremendous amount of work still to be done. With the termination of the VLGM, the sustainability and scalability of the Authority’s initiatives came into question. The behavioral challenges, attitudinal challenges, and individual inhibitions, were big issues that the Authority needed to address. ...


Exhibit I:GMWDA’s Household Waste Recycling Centers
Exhibit II: GMWDA’s Policy Objectives
Exhibit III: GMWDA’s 4 Key Themes
Exhibit IV: VLGM’s Operations and Facilities
Exhibit V: Communication Channels Exploited by GMWDA
Exhibit VI: GWMDA’s Delivery Model
Exhibit VII: GMWDA’s Communication Strategy Principles