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Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation (PBMSA) in Belfast: supplementary guidance on waste storage

  1. PBMSA waste and recycling collections in Belfast
  2. Estimating the weekly volume of waste generated by a PBMSA development
  3. Designing communal waste storage areas for dwellings (houses or apartments)
  4. Calculate the capacity needed for each type of waste to be collected by the PBMSA collection scheme
  5. Identify the types and quantities of containers needed
  6. Example
  7. Management measures
  8. Useful contacts

This document should be used along with the Local Government Waste Storage Guide for Northern Ireland. It gives specific information on the waste storage needs of Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation in Belfast1. It does not replace any legislation or remove the need for developers to consult with our Planning or Building Control Services to ensure compliance with relevant policy and legislation. You should still refer to the Local Government Guide for the wider design considerations, including location and access.

To allow us to operate collections efficiently, and to maximise recycling, developers of PBMSA are expected to follow this guidance to provide enough space for waste storage and to ensure that tenants recycle effectively.

This guidance applies to the living accommodation element of PBMSA developments. Appropriate separate provision should be made for the storage and commercial collection of waste from any on-site office accommodation.

1. PBMSA waste and recycling collections in Belfast

The Council collects waste from the living accommodation element of all PBMSA developments free of charge.

The Council provides a specific PBMSA waste collection scheme for any PBMSA development where the estimated weekly volume of waste exceeds a certain threshold; PBMSA developments below that threshold will receive the standard Council collections.

2. Estimating the weekly volume of waste generated by a PBMSA development

To estimate the total waste which will be generated from the development each week:

  • A standard single-bed student room is estimated to generate 60 litres of waste per week.
  • If the PBMSA development incorporates apartment-style accommodation, use the ‘dwelling’ calculation from Table 1 on page 13 of the Local Government Guide to estimate the waste generated from those units.

3. Designing communal waste storage areas for dwellings (houses or apartments)

If there are more than 95 rooms or apartments in total in the PBMSA development OR the estimated weekly waste (see Paragraph 2) exceeds 5750 litres, then the building qualifies to receive the ‘PBMSA collection’; you should proceed to paragraph 4.

If there 95 or fewer rooms or apartments in the PBMSA development AND the estimated waste generated is
5750 litres or less, then the standard Council waste collections will apply; you should prepare your design in
accordance with the standard supplementary guidance for housing and apartment developments in Belfast, rather than this PBMSA supplementary guidance.‚Äč

4. Calculate the capacity needed for each type of waste to be collected by the PBMSA collection scheme

Break down the total weekly waste estimate into the various proportions set out in Table 1.

Table 1: Breakdown of the total weekly waste arising from qualifying PBMSA developments2

General waste 35%
Dry recycling 55%
Glass 5%
Food waste 5%

Note 2 - This breakdown relates to Paragraph 1.3.1 of the Local Government Guide.

5. Identify the types and quantities of containers needed

Use Table 2 to select the types and quantities of containers you will use to accommodate the various types of waste:

Table 2: Waste collection arrangements for qualifying PBMSA developments

Type of waste Frequency of collection Types of container we collect Who pays for the bins?
General waste Weekly Communal 180 litre, 660 litre and 1100 litre wheeled general waste bins are acceptable Belfast City Council can supply these bins, but the developer must pay for them.
Dry recycling Weekly Communal 240 litre, 660 litre and 1100 litre wheeled recycling bins are acceptable Belfast City Council currently provides these containers free of charge.
Glass Weekly Communal 150 litre wheelieboxes
Food waste Weekly Communal 140 litre wheeled bins (brown)
Total space to be allocated The required footprint for a 150l wheelie-box is 750mm x 750mm (30” x 30”). All other associated space and access requirements are set out in Chapter 4 of the Local Government Guide.

6. Example

If a PBMSA development contains 450 units, made up of 425 standard student rooms and 25 x 1-bed apartments:

The waste generated per week is calculated as follows (using the information in Paragraph 2 of this supplementary guidance and in Table 1 on p.13 of the Local Government Guide):

Standard student room 425 x 60 = 25,500 litres
1-bed apartments 25 x (70 + 30) = 2,500 litres
Total capacity needed   28,000 litres

This development exceeds the threshold of 95 units in total (and also the arisings threshold of 5750 litres), as discussed in Paragraph 3 of this supplementary guidance, so the PBMSA design guidance applies.

Use the breakdown provided in Paragraphs 4 and 5 of this supplementary guidance to work out how much of this waste can be recycled and the number of bins needed:

Table 3: PBMSA example solution

Total weekly waste (using Para 2 of this PBMSA guidance and Table 1 on p13 of the Local Government Guide) Type of waste  Weekly breakdown (using Table 1 of this PBMSA guidance) Capacity needed (using Table 2 of this PBMSA guidance) Containers needed (example solution, using Table 2 of this PBMSA guidance)
425 x 60 + 25 x (70 + 30) = 28,000 litres General waste 35% 9,800 litres  1 week (for weekly collections) 9,800 litres 9 x 1100 litre general waste Eurobins
Dry recycling  55% 15,400 litres 1 week (for weekly collections) 15,400 litres 14 x 1100 litre recycling Eurobins
Glass 5% 1,400 litres 1 week (for weekly collections) 1,400 litres 10 x 150 litre wheelie-boxes
Food waste 5% 1,400 litres 1 week (for weekly collections) 1,400 litres 10 x 140 litre wheelie-boxes
The required footprint for a 150l wheelie-box is 750mm x 750mm (30” x 30”). All other associated space and access requirements are set out in Chapter 4 of the Local Government Guide.

7. Management measures

We are committed to maximising recycling in the city. As well as protecting the environment, recycling reduces costs and supports local jobs. Maximising recycling and minimising contamination is more difficult in developments with communal bins. Therefore, we expect operators to implement the following measures to make sure that recycling is optimised:

  • 1. Manage waste storage areas so that there is always enough space available for general waste, dry recycling, glass and food waste, and that this is accessible at all times.
  • 2. Provide information and signage for tenants about the waste management arrangements and which items should be placed in which bin.
  • 3. Co-operate with us to promote recycling among residents.
  • 4. Require tenants to comply with waste and recycling arrangements as a condition of their tenancy agreement.

8. Useful contacts

 Query  Contact
For help in applying the guidance Planning Service
0300 200 7830
Building Control 
028 9027 0650
To order containers, liners or food caddies Waste Management Call Centre
0800 032 8100
For information about waste and recycling
For queries or issues about collections Collections Call Centre
028 9027 0230
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