The UK consumes natural resources at an unsustainable rate and
contributes unnecessarily to climate change.
Each year we generate
approximately 290 million tonnes of waste, which causes environmental damage
and costs businesses and consumers money.
The Government has published
the findings of its Review of Waste Policy, setting out its policies and a
series of actions designed to help move towards a zero waste economy in
England. Alongside the Review, the Government also published an Anaerobic
Digestion Strategy and Action Plan.
Key facts and figures
Over 40% of household waste was recycled in England in 2010/11, compared to 11% in 2000/01.
The average residual waste per person in England has reduced by 88kg since 2006/07 to 263kg/person/year in 2010/11.
52 per cent of commercial and industrial waste was recycled or reused in England in 2009, compared to 42 per cent in 2002/3.
50% of local authority collected waste generated in the UK was sent to landfill in 2010/11, compared to an EU-27 average of 40%.
According to Recycle Now, UK recycling saves more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road.
The UK produced in 2009 approximately 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink waste per year, 7.0 million tonnes of which was food.
In England this could generate at least 3-5 TWh electricity per year by 2020 (a heat equivalent of 6-10TWh)
The UK water industry treats 66% of sewage sludge by AD, generating in the region of 1TWh per year of electricity in 2010.
The diversion of biodegradable wastes to AD can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill. For example, capturing the biogas from one tonne of food waste will save between 0.5 and 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent.
Direct emissions from the waste management greenhouse gas inventory sector in the UK accounted for 3.2% of the UK’s total estimated emissions of greenhouse gases in 2009, or 17.9 Mt CO2e compared to 59 Mt CO2e in 1990. Of the 2008 total, 89% arises from landfill, 10% from waste-water handling and 2% from waste incineration (these figures are rounded).