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Waste Analysis Case Study – Tom White

UK Waste streams are evolving. Updates to the way food is packaged and ever-changing consumer buying and recycling habits are making predicting the types and levels of materials found in our bins and skips increasingly difficult. This poses an issue for waste management companies such as Tom White, which is helping to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills by providing select waste processes that create valuable materials for reuse.


Tom White

Now owned by Coventry City Council, Tom White specialises in ethical waste management that focuses on putting people first, protecting the planet and generating profit for purpose. They have been delivering specialist waste management services to homes and businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire for over 40 years.

Through the use of their onsite Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), they (Tom White) can recover recyclables such as cardboard, plastics (rigids and films), wood and metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) with the residual going into a fuel (RDF). This helps Tom White reduce the number of reusable materials that end up in landfills.

Tom White

To better understand what is going through their plants, Tom White must know what is in their waste. This is best done through high-quality waste analysis, which can then build a clear and reliable profile of the materials they receive.

Michael Trueman, Production Operations Manager at Tom White, had been recommended Alfred H Knight as a reputable provider of waste analysis services:

“We wanted to implement material analysis to firstly better understand the composition of the materials we produce. With the challenges associated with the fuel and fines markets, we needed data to engage new outlets to provide a contingency for the business. I got in touch with Sam Jeynes (Business Development Manager at Alfred H Knight) who is based nearby. He was nice and friendly and always made our business feel loved, so we knew they would be a good fit for us.”

As an industry-leading inspection and testing company with strategically located hubs throughout the UK, Alfred H Knight was able to provide sampling for fines at two of Tom White’s sites, Loss On Ignition (LOI) testing to check the inert waste for combustible organic matter and WM3 analysis to ascertain the chemical content of the waste to ensure it wasn’t potentially harmful and it is fit for landfill cover. This service helped Tom White to meet the guidance and statutory requirements needed to minimise the amount of waste produced and increase the use of non-landfill waste management options.

Lab technician performing analysisAs they were satisfied with the service they received, Tom White asked AHK to undertake some RDF analysis too, consisting of a test for composite materials left in RDF and a chemical analysis which included the calorific value (CV) of the material to meet EFW requirements.

Alfred H Knight’s team of experienced and highly-qualified experts and laboratory technicians went to work to provide Tom White with a full suite of analytical services, including Compositional Analysis, Loss on Ignition, Sizing Analysis, Density Analysis, 2D and 3D Analysis and Particle Size Distribution.

“From the fuel analysis that Alfred H Knight provided, we were able to determine the CV of our RDF, which then opened us up to have conversations with multiple outlets, whereas originally we were limited to just the one. Without these further outlets, the materials would have ended up in landfill”


The results of the RDF analysis, along with additional technical services, such as compositional analysis, particle size distribution and sizing analysis, not only delivered the key results that Tom White was looking for but helped play a key part in supporting the city of Coventry as a whole.

The feedback from the reports provided by AHK showed that by investing in a new MRF, Tom White could improve the recovery of recyclable materials to 71% with the remaining 29% being turned into SRF, a more efficient fuel alternative to RDF.

Waste analysis

As Tom White is owned by Coventry City Council, all of that profit would go directly back into the council to support those who need it.

To back these claims, the team at AHK provided tailored materials sampling for the MRF redevelopment project. Composite analysis of unprocessed materials showed a complete breakdown of materials, which were then categorised based on how the new MRF would sort it – flat and crumpled; <10mm, 10-60mm, >60mm. Ferrous metal vs non ferrous.

This tailored service provided the team at Tom White the key results and facts needed to form the basis of a business case for a brand new MRF facility. The plant would support their three values – People First, Protect our Planet and Profit For Purpose.

Funding was secured for the development of the MRF and when Tom White was tasked with designing this brand new facility, they knew exactly who to get in touch with to provide technical support on the designs of their brand new MRF.

Alfred H Knight achieved every required category and met each deadline of the ambitious project, helping Tom White to design their new MRF to specification and gain more control and insight into the quality of the composition of their waste.

If you would like to speak to an expert on waste composition or solid fuels, head to our Waste & Recycling page or email [email protected] today.