The Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 are the primary regulations in England and Wales that govern waste disposal. The regulations include rules on both the treatment of waste, including recycling, and the transportation of waste.
The Environment Agency in England and Wales has published a number of technical guidance documents in order to help others comply with the regulations.
The United Kingdom’s trash policy is constantly changing. Significant changes in how garbage is produced and disposed of in the UK have occurred since the Waste Strategy for England and Wales in 2000, partly due to EU waste rules.
Defra made a new Waste Management Plan for England in 2013, building on the gains of the 2000 policy and the subsequent 2007 Waste Strategy for England. Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have similar waste management plans. (See links to waste programs in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.)
This section gives a quick overview of the most critical aspects of current UK waste policies, focusing on England and Wales.
Hierarchy of Waste
The waste hierarchy is an EU idea that underpins all of the UK’s waste policies.
The waste hierarchy demands everyone in charge of waste management to prioritise waste prevention, reuse, and recycling, followed by alternative types of recovery, such as energy recovery and disposal. Prevention, reuse, preparation, and recycling should be prioritised in any waste regulation or policy.
Waste that might otherwise end up in a landfill is diverted
According to the waste hierarchy, one of the main goals of government policy is to limit the amount of garbage in landfills and encourage people to recycle more.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Welsh Landfill Allowance Scheme limit the amount of trash disposed of in landfills. Similar landfill rules exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The government’s goal is to make it easier for individuals and businesses to recycle more. Several initiatives have been implemented to persuade the general population to view garbage as a resource and practice recycling and reuse. In 2011, the Welsh government, for example, imposed a 5p fee on single-use carrier bags.
The UK government set a 5p tax on single-use plastic bags distributed by large merchants in England in October 2015. These policies are intended to encourage individuals to reuse their shopping bags while also reducing waste and pollution.
Waste reduction in the economy
The amount of waste generated by industries and enterprises in the United Kingdom is considerable. The UK’s waste strategy tries to limit the quantity of garbage generated by businesses.
Various policy measures have been implemented to encourage businesses and sectors to minimise waste. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, for example, make it mandatory for packaging waste manufacturers to recover and recycle a specified amount of waste.
They must also design their products so that they are easy to dismantle and recycle at the end of their useful lives. Producer responsibility regulations that require producers to recover a particular quantity of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), end-of-life vehicles, and batteries are similar.
Hazardous waste disposal laws in England and Wales impact how rubbish can be recycled. (Regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are similar.)
Individual homes may still dispose of a small amount of hazardous trash through the conventional rubbish collection, but greater amounts must be disposed of in specially-managed waste facilities.
Dangerous liquid waste, batteries, and whole and shredded tyres cannot be disposed of in landfills in the United Kingdom. If you create, move, receive, or dispose of hazardous material, the Environment Agency can help you. Trash policy in the United Kingdom also tries to reduce the amount and severity of waste created in the first place.
The United Kingdom’s waste policies are based on the concept of “shared responsibility.” Because everyone produces some garbage, everyone has a role in avoiding waste growth. Everyone in society has a responsibility to reuse, recycle, and properly dispose of waste.