ARCHIVE: National indicators 191, 192 and 193: Household and municipal waste

NI 191: Residual household waste per household

In line with the position of waste reduction at the top of the waste hierarchy, the Government wishes to see a year on year reduction in the amount of residual waste (through a combination of less overall waste and more reuse, recycling and composting of the waste that households produce). Local authorities have an important role to play in assisting their residents to reduce waste (as well as encouraging sorting of waste for recycling, re-use, home composting and other forms of home treatment of waste).

This indicator monitors an authority’s performance in reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, incineration or energy recovery.

NI 192: Household waste reused, recycled and composted

The indicator measures percentage of household waste arisings which have been sent by the Authority for reuse, recycling, composting or anaerobic digestion. This is a key measure of local authorities’ progress in moving management of household waste up the hierarchy, consistent with the Government’s national strategy for waste management. The Government expects local authorities to maximise the percentage of waste reused, recycled and composted.

NI 193: Municipal waste land filled

To measure the proportion of municipal waste landfilled. The Government’s strategy on waste is to move waste management up the waste hierarchy and divert an increasing proportion of waste away from landfill.

Background

The Waste Strategy 2007 (WS 2007) puts explicit emphasis at the outset on the environmental rationale for action on waste management including: reducing greenhouse gases; improving resource efficiency; protecting public health; protecting ecosystems and safeguarding social amenity.

It also restates the Government’s high-level objective for waste policy as set out in its Sustainable Development Strategy 2005, Securing the Future: protection of human health and the environment by producing less waste and by using it as a resource wherever possible. Through more sustainable waste management – reduction, re-use, recycling, composting and using waste as a source of energy – the Government aims to break the link between economic growth and the environmental impact of waste. WS2007 reaffirms the waste hierarchy as a good general guide to the relative environmental benefits of different waste management options but acknowledges that there will be exceptions to this for particular materials and in particular circumstances.

A key outcome of the Waste Strategy is to seek the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions from waste management operations. This includes two elements, direct impacts and offset benefits for waste recycling and recovery. Some of the latter are generated in the UK and some overseas. The aim is to reduce these emissions by at least 9.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020 compared to 2006/07. The development of indicators is considered to be essential to underpin monitoring of successful implementation of WS2007.

The indicator on residual waste per household monitors an authority’s performance in reducing waste that is sent to landfill, incineration or energy recovery. The greatest environmental benefits were to be gained from waste prevention and then from reuse, recycling and composting – each is given equal weight in the residual waste indicator. Waste Strategy 2007 set a new national target to reduce the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted by 29% to 15.8 million tonnes in 2010 with an aspiration to reduce it by 45% in 2020. Each authority should play its part in achieving these targets

Of the waste that is generated, as much as possible should be re-used or recycled, with higher levels of recycling and composting in an economically and environmentally efficient way – therefore, this is measured by the indicator on household waste reused, recycled and composted measures an authority’s performance in. Waste Strategy 2007 set national targets for the reuse, recycling and composting of household waste – of at least 40% by 2010, 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020. Each waste authority should play its part in achieving these targets.

Improved treatment of the residual waste is then sought as this offers the opportunity to extract value from (and reduce the environmental impact of) an otherwise wasted resource stream. WS2007 makes clear that energy should be recovered only from residual waste that cannot viably be recycled, as well as certain biomass wastes such as wood and food waste (via anaerobic digestion) where there are clear carbon benefits of doing so. There is no indicator on waste that is recovered, however, authorities provide this information as part of their Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme obligations and Defra will publish this data in the annual Municipal Waste statistics for each disposal authority.

Landfill, at the bottom of the waste hierarchy, is the least desirable option. Landfilling is a waste of resources and biodegradable waste in landfill generates 40% of methane emissions. The key objectives for Municipal Waste for England include meeting and exceeding the Landfill Directive diversion targets for biodegradable municipal waste in 2010, 2013 and 2020. LATS and Landfill Tax remain two of the key measures to achieve this. The Waste Strategy states that ‘reliance on landfill is already reducing and this should become the home of last resort for Municipal waste - the indicator on the percentage of Municipal Waste sent to landfill will measure an authority’s overall performance against this. Municipal Waste will include all waste reported for the household waste indicators as well as any trade waste collected by or on behalf of waste authorities. Waste Strategy 2007 set national targets for the recovery of municipal waste:  53% by 2010, 67% by 2015 and 75% by 2020. Each authority should play its part in achieving these targets.

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Page modified: 14 July 2009
Page published: 8 April 2008