Civic amenity sites are provided by Waste Disposal Authorities as places where the public can deliver their household waste for recycling or disposal. The household waste that the public bring to these sites includes garden waste, bulky household waste (mattresses, furniture), waste from do-it-yourself house improvements, white goods and many more.
The public will assist in recycling many of these materials if the locations of suitable skips are marked clearly and this can be greatly enhanced by the staff manning the facility helping each visitor to understand where each item should be placed for optimum re-sue and recycling.
These sites may be built at split level for ease of manhandling materials vertical compactor repairs from cars and trailers into containers, in which case the container are placed below the level of the vehicles.
Civic amenity sites, usually incorporate skips, collection areas for waste refrigeration and metal appliances and recycling banks. A greater diversity of recycling banks are often found at these sites than at local bring banks, including containers for materials such as waste batteries, paint, oil and wood.
These facilities do not generally accept trade waste, although some sites allow traders to dispose of waste for a fee. The amount of waste collected at civic amenity sites has been increasing at over double the rate of the overall household waste stream, and so has the amount of recycled material.
Unfortunately, some of this increase has been attributed to rises in the amount of trade waste illegally entering sites under the guise of household waste. It is also likely that the increased use and awareness of these sites due to improvements in the recycling and composting facilities available has also contributed significantly to this increase.
In many towns and cities the civic amenity sites have tended to start life on a small scale in unsuitable locations, and have grown in scale to cope with increasing demands from householders for convenient waste disposal facilities. Many closed and restored landfills still retain a civic amenity site at the original site entrance.
The best of the newer sites that are currently being developed are purpose built, on suitably located sites, and their environmental impacts are significantly lower than old style sites. Indeed, some of the newest sites are housed within buildings such that all activities are completely within the envelope of the building. This greatly reduces noise and dust nuisance.
Best practice in the design of CA sites incorporates separate areas for the general public to deposit waste and for the servicing vehicles which collect it and compact it into containers for onward transport. Container bays set aside for individual waste streams are becoming more common, and it is possible to sequence them for ease of use as household hazardous, bulky waste/white goods, high density materials (rubble/soil, timber, scrap metal), dry recyclables (paper, cans, textiles, plastics) green waste and general waste.
CA sites need hard standing areas to site recycling bins, skips and possibly compactors which can be fully/partially enclosed or open. Surfacing needs to be impermeable if the site is to cater for potentially polluting waste such as oil or car batteries and surface water drainage should be routed via an interceptor.
CA sites are generally small scale (0.5 ha) and may be ancillary to an existing waste management operation, providing ‘front-end’ recycling.
Facilities are usually best located near to centres of population or on the edge of urban areas to maximise accessibility and ensure usage.
These sites can attract large numbers of people and, therefore, careful thought is needed to maximise the space given to both recycling areas and vehicle turning space. Often sites are open every day of the year (with the exception of Christmas and New Year), operating during daylight hours.
As with bring banks, these sites can result in a lot of traffic, so careful consideration must be given to their siting. So, as a general rule for civic amenity sites, small is beautiful.