The Top Soil > UK Government Action on Waste Management and Reduction

UK Government Action on Waste Management and Reduction

England alone produces nearly 230 million tonnes of waste per year. That much waste isn’t only a costly and irresponsible use of resources. It is also a serious environmental concern because landfills produce methane which in turn is heating up the Earth’s atmosphere and contributing to climate change. The Government’s strategy is to move to zero waste economy or to reduce waste production to the minimum, followed by re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery.

Waste Prevention

It is impossible not to produce any waste but it is possible to reduce it significantly. The UK Government is extensively working on waste prevention programme with an aim to:


The goal of the UK Government is to make it easier for citizens and businesses to recycle. But the Government is also working hard on improving the quality of recycled materials in order to make them more attractive to both domestic and international market.

Other Waste Management and Reduction Measures

To reduce waste and improve its management, the UK Government is also making sure that businesses recover and recycle a part of their products through legislation. The focus is on manufactures of electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, vehicles and packaging. But besides forcing the industry to take more responsibility for their products through laws, the Government is also stimulating businesses to reduce and recycle waste through reduced administrative burdens and working closely with the waste industry in order to:

The UK Government is also working on programmes that encourage households to do their part of the job and take action to reduce and manage waste.

Since waste can be used to generate energy, the UK Government is also supporting production of energy from waste. An example is biogas which is produced by anaerobic digestion of biodegradable waste and is chemically identical to natural gas.

Lastly, the UK Government is also taking action on waste management by making sure that all landfills comply with the EU Landfill Directive and the Council Decision on Waste Acceptance Criteria, regulating hazardous waste and tackling waste crime such as illegal waste management sites and illegal exports.

The Government’s policy on waste management and reduction is developed in cooperation with the Environment Agency and the Waste and Resources Action Programme.