About This Live Project

Sheffield Homes is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) set up and owned by Sheffield City Council to manage council housing in Sheffield. As our client, Sheffield Homes offered us a list of potential project briefs for us to choose from, all of which deal with important issues and concerns regarding the current council housing stock in Sheffield. Our group decided to embark upon developing innovative solutions to address the important issue of waste disposal in flatted council estates. Our hope is that our efforts can offer strong design initiatives on the topic whilst creating awareness and incentive on the importance of recycling and proper disposal of household waste.

Monday, 3 November 2008

News from the Front

This afternoon I once again had the opportunity to speak with the team leaders of the Sheffield Home's Estates Officers (East City). I found it quite nice to see familiar faces again, some of whom I had work shadowed a couple of weeks ago. All were very positive to have me around, eager to hear how our project was going, though there was natural sceptical undertone felt regarding what we could actually achieve.

That aside, the most important element of this visit was to acquire their collective feedback on several ideas that we have been developing in small groups. Shifting my focus from the problems they deal with on a daily basis to feasibility of potential solutions was indeed refreshing approach. All ideas presented were well received regardless of whether they were too high-tech, costly or generally off-the-wall. I think they were just encouraged that an outside party, such as ourselves, were eager to address their troubles.

Without jabbering on and on about the experience, below are the main points to come out of the meeting, some of which should apply to the majority of our initiatives:

  • The current system offers virtually no solid way of enforcing fly-tipping laws... The reason? The act itself must be witnessed for any report to have any substantial weight behind it... The subsequent outcome? No one is afraid to fly-tip - end of story...
  • The point above also means that numbering bags or any other method of waste tracking would likely require a lot of planning, all party consideration and validity in the courts.
  • Offering responsibility / shared ownership / access to the bin stores for tenants is considered out of the question. However such an idea is not impossible that if an advanced code/lock system were used instead of a simply lock and key.
  • Fly-tipping will be collected by Estate Officers up to the external areas and the bottom of stair cores. Any other waste e.g. 3rd Floor landing, would have to be reported before collection would happen.
  • Any mechanism for larger hopper heads must comply with health and safety codes, no exceptions there (even if the usage was controlled by lock & key).
  • They liked the idea of creating a system which could reward those disposed of waste appropriately and penalised those who severely transgressed i.e. An Estate Officer marked rating system, which could be integrated into a responsive feedback loop.
  • They agreed that they could not be a single perfect solution to all of the problems considered so far. They were encouraged that several of our ideas merged together could offer an optimum solution that would, on the whole, make their jobs easier.

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