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Eric Bridgwater MCIWM

I have 20 years of experience in the waste and resource efficiency sector and have contributed to the delivery of over 200 research and consultancy projects, typically as a project manager or director. I am a Chartered Member of the Institute of Wastes Management (MCIWM). Previously I worked for Eunomia Research & Consulting and Resource Futures. I now work as an independent consultant. My full CV is available here.

I have contributed extensively to defining best practice in recycling collection systems in the UK, as well as developing the evidence base for waste policy, including work on modelling national composition estimates for municipal waste.

This is complemented by my experience on numerous projects to optimise collection systems (kerbside, Household Waste Recycling Centres, bring banks, commercial collections), including material flow and financial modelling, business case development, logistics, market assessments, waste treatment options and innovative approaches to moving towards more circular management of resources.

I have delivered projects for a wide range of clients, including local authorities, central governments (including in Europe), private waste companies, businesses, and industry bodies, as well as working extensively with WRAP and Defra.

National Waste Composition Estimates in the UK

I have earned a reputation as a leading authority on the composition of waste in the UK.

Together with a talented team at Eunomia,  I project managed the development of the most comprehensive set of composition estimates ever produced for municipal waste in the UK.  Compositional datasets for various municipal waste and recycling streams were sourced and analysed in order to model a national composition. Stratification by socio-economic and geographic factors was carried out, to adjust for where the compiled datasets were not representative at a national level.

The data and reports are available on Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) website. The estimates will be invaluable in assisting modelling work for WRAP and industry practitioners in relation to work underpinning the move towards greater resource efficiency in the UK.

With Resource Futures, I project managed the production of national composition estimates for municipal waste in England in 2006/07 and 2010/11, both landmark projects in terms of improving our sector’s understanding of the composition of the ‘national dustbin’. I also have extensive knowledge of sampling and sorting methodologies used in waste composition analyses.

National Waste Composition Estimates in the UK

Household Waste Recycling Centre Guidance

In the resource management sector, I am widely regarded as a leading expert on the optimisation of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). I have played a key role in defining best practice in the management of HWRCs in the UK. I project managed the production of Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP’s) best practice guidance for the management of Household Waste Recycling Centres.

I was central to creating the legendary National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites (NACAS) report, described by Joe Papineschi (Director at Eunomia) as “the first serious attempt in the UK to empirically research and define best practice of any type of waste collection in the UK”. The project was the overall winner of the Biffaward Awards in 2004 and an impact assessment estimated that it was instrumental in enabling the additional diversion of at least 1% per annum of the UK’s household waste from disposal, through encouraging improvements in HWRC management practice in the industry.

I have acted as project manager and/or technical lead for over 80 projects providing advice on the optimisation of Household Waste Recycling Centres. The projects typically included onsite survey of sites, identifying operational efficiencies, design improvements, upgrades of infrastructure, improvement of site policy and management of staff, behaviour change and communications, review of contracts, market assessments, business cases for improvement options, and presenting key findings to officers and members. Types of work undertaken have included staff training, spatial analysis and site rationalisation options, impacts of changes of kerbside service on HWRCs and bring banks, re-use systems (including practical trials) and design recommendations for new sites.

For the largest such project, I was project manager and technical lead for a strategic review for HWRCs in Northern Ireland (with Eunomia and behalf of WRAP).  Around half of the sites in Northern Ireland (46 HWRCs) were reviewed, and all 11 local authorities in Northern Ireland were included.  Site specific improvement recommendations were identified from each review, including predicted performance improvement, waste flow modelling and an outline estimate of financial costs/benefits arising from the implementation of recommended improvements; and modelling results were also produced at a national level.   Strategic issues affecting Northern Ireland HWRCs were identified, including recommendations on dealing with commercial waste inputs and restricting black bag waste disposal.

Waste and Recycling Collection Efficiency Reviews

I have led numerous kerbside collections optimisation projects, for WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), ZWS (Zero Waste Scotland), LWARB (London Waste and Recycling Board) and other clients. These projects assessed the logistics of various collections options, operational optimisation, financial and environmental modelling, developing business cases (including partnership working with other authorities) and producing recommendations for the preferred option.

I have helped to develop the industry’s understanding of the performance of kerbside collections, including managing the delivery of WRAP’s Analysis of Kerbside Dry Recycling Performance in the UK study, which has produced an extensive array of performance benchmarks, as well as a statistically robust model for explaining how different factors affect kerbside dry recycling performance. I also oversaw analyses of recycling performance in different housing types in the UK, and carried out statistical analysis of factors affecting kerbside recycling yields to feed into WRAP’s Route Map project.

Reuse Optimisation

I have advised extensively on optimising reuse systems at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Well designed and managed reuse systems can significantly improve the recycling performance at HWRCs (far beyond just the reuse items diverted from disposal), as well as bringing social, environmental and financial benefits.

I contributed to the HWRC section of the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP’s) Re-use How To Guides, including reuse performance benchmarks, predictive modelling of material flows for different reuse scenarios, operational considerations and describing different approaches partnership working.

I also helped the Reuse Network to develop best practice in the optimisation reuse from bulky waste collections, including financial modelling of a complex range of factors affecting bulky waste recycling/reuse economics, drawing on practical case study examples.

Circular Economy

I have helped to deliver a wide range of projects relevant to enabling moving towards the circular economy.  I project directed an assessment of the impacts of Online Exchange (such as Ebay, Gumtree, B2B portals, etc) on diversion of materials to reuse / prolonging the consumption life of items, and associated environmental impacts.

I developed models to predict waste flows and materials recovery options for the London Olympic Games in 2012. These assisted in the commissioning of waste management arrangements at the Games.  A review of the model’s performance after the Games found that it had predicted material flows with close to 100% accuracy.

I provided technical support and reviewed outputs of a study investigating food surplus and options for reducing food waste in the UK grocery supply chain.  I also project managed a project to enable greater third sector involvement in recycling/reuse in the East Midlands, including developing strategies for expanding the involvement of social enterprises in the recycling and reuse of commercial and industrial waste in the region.

National Household Food Waste Arisings Estimates

I have played a key role in producing national household food waste arisings estimates for the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP’s) flagship Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK project.  This programme of work encompassed eight separate projects, the most significant being the Data Synthesis reports supporting arisings estimates for 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. The most recent estimates  demonstrate the first statistically significant reduction in national household food waste arisings in a decade.

This was a continuation of work I carried out with WRAP in 2011, producing estimates to assist WRAP in monitoring progress against food waste reduction targets in WRAP’s 2008-11 business plan.  I also produced national household waste and recycling estimates for textiles and plastics for WRAP, as part of the same programme of work.

WRAP Separate Food Waste Collection Trials

I have been instrumental in defining best practice and performance benchmarks for food waste collections in the UK. I provided extensive technical support for the evaluation of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) supported food waste collection trials, carried out in 19 local authorities across the UK.  A wide range of data was collated and analysed to investigate which factors were significant in affecting food waste yields across the trials and to draw out practical lessons for the separate collection of food waste by local authorities. I have since assisted WRAP in updating food waste yield benchmarks.

I have advised extensively on the environmental, operational and financial implications of collecting food waste, in particular the design of collection options and development of business cases for implementing food waste collections for five local authorities in Scotland in the Clyde Valley region on behalf of Zero Waste Scotland.

Waste Planning

In collaboration with Resource Futures and Deborah Sacks  I oversaw the production of a waste evidence plan  for Telford and Wrekin Council, to assist with the authority’s formal planning process.  This included analysis of Waste Data Interrogator data, predictive mass flow modelling for all waste arisings in the authority, accounting for projected changes in housing stock and planned commercial developments, alongside an assessment of current and planned waste management and processing capacity.

Endorsements

“Eric is one of the most accomplished consultants in the waste management sector and is rightly held in high regard” Ashley Robb, Director, Green Gain Ltd

“Eric Bridgwater helped our team in developing our waste strategy and data management.  His modelling of waste arisings and carbon benefits on behalf of council was very valuable in enabling us to assess options for optimising our waste and recycling collections.” Carol Maclellan, Group Manager Neighbourhood Environmental Services, Bath & North East Somerset Council

Regarding a project I managed recently “Eunomia’s review of Northern Ireland Household Waste Recycling Centres successfully gathered evidence of the common issues impacting individual site recycling rates. Their experienced team brought operational insight to the project outputs, which are now allowing local authorities to work together to take action based on industry good practice” Keith Patterson, Recycling & Collections Advisor, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)

1/5/2020: Mutant boogie woogie using the Brazilian partido alto rhythm

Here is a tune I composed in honour of a recently departed friend, the legendary Ozzie Pete.

It uses a partido alto rhythm in the bass, shown below. The right hand shows the partido alto rhythm (often played by the bells in Brazilian samba), with hits all the downbeats in the first bar, and all the upbeats in the second bar. This ‘on-off’ syncopation is one vital ingredient of samba’s funkiness. Likewise, the left-hand is mostly on downbeats in the first bar, and upbeats in the second, and you can see a very close relationship with the partido alto rhythm…. although, actually the partido alto is being started in the “wrong” place, as I will explain.

The boogie baseline also quotes from another samba rhythm, a pattern sometimes played in batucada tunes by the tamborins, and which is occasionally remembered by samba players (non-Brazilian ones anyway!) by the mnemonic “I like to go sailing in a boat”.  Though, as I mentioned, the baseline starts the pattern in the “wrong” place, so here the mnemonic would be: “To go sailing in a boat, I like…”  Anyway, you can see again that the tamborin pattern works pretty well in the left hand. In this boogie rhythm, both the bell and tamborin batucada patterns (amongst the more treble-y sounds in a samba band) are being played in the bass by the left hand.

So this boogie pattern is like batucada put on its head. And then in a half nelson, because the start of the batucada rhythm patterns is two beats too late, compared to how they are played samba, with the clave (often played by snare drums in samba bands) shown in the bass:

Clave means ‘key’, and it does indeed hold the key to pretty much all latin rhythms. So we can expect that a Brazilian samba player will be aware of the clave (even if only implicitly) in understanding where their patterns fit in. And where the ‘one’ is. However for non-Brazilian samba players, speaking from my own experience, it is easy to get distracted to listening to the hypnotic rhythm of the bells playing the partido alto, and the surdos (big bass drums) often reinforce that rhythm. And then it can become confusing to hear where the ‘one’ is. That is part of why samba can be a compulsive rhythm (when played well), as it seems to circle in on itself, having no start and no end.

If you only listen to the Partido alto rhythm in the example above (without the clave playing), the ‘one’ isn’t even played at all, it seems to go in a weird void space between the syncopated beats. Therefore non-Brazilian ears (and drummers) will often feel the ‘one’ of a Partido alto as being on the ‘three’ of the first bar in the above example. And that is exactly how the Ozzie Pete Shuffle bass rhythm was born – my gringo confusion about where the Partido rhythm starts!

Although, this was accidentally on purpose, as in fact this boogie rhythm, with the ‘out of sync’ partido alto, ends up being a reverse rhumba clave in disguise:

We are used to hearing rhumba rhythms in boogie woogie, particularly with artists like Professor Longhair. However, the Ozzie Pete rhythm is different, it is a reverse rhumba clave. In fact, this rhythm probably most closely resembles a salsa rhythm, which is a son clave (widely recognisable in blues as the ‘Bo Diddley’ rhythm), but played in reverse. Most (but by no means all) cuban montunos use a reverse son clave, which ends up having hits on the downbeats in the first bar, and on the upbeats in the second bar… just like our bassline.

So, the Ozzie Pete Shuffle, as well as being a loving tribute to a much missed friend (and fellow samba player), is an object lesson in how so many of these rhythms are closely related: samba, rhumba, salsa, boogie woogie. Maybe because it all began in Africa….?

RIP Pete Ray