ARCHIVE: National waste targets for England
The strategy puts greater emphasis on waste prevention and sets a new target to reduce the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted.
- This means reducing it from the 22.3 million tonnes in 2000 to 12.2 million tonnes in 2020 (with a target of 15.9 million tonnes by 2010). This is a reduction of 45%.
Higher targets for recycling and composting of household waste – at least 40% by 2010, 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020.
- These are significantly higher than the old targets (set in Waste Strategy 2000) of 30% by 2010 and 33% by 2015. They will take England up on a par with its European neighbours.
Why have new targets?
Increased re-use and recycling brings environmental benefits (e.g. in resource and energy efficiency) and it also means less landfill. Landfill is –generally the worst option for the environment: it is a waste of valuable resources and methane from biodegradable waste decomposing in landfills is a potent greenhouse gas.
How were these targets set?
These targets were set on the basis of modelling which estimated how local authorities will meet the landfill directive targets, the likely effects of the policies in the strategy and the environmental benefits and financial costs of these.
Why are the new targets for recycling and composting of household waste not higher still?
We consider that even higher targets would not be feasible or cost-effective, taking account of factors such as putting additional infrastructure in place in sufficient time.
The target for 2010 is challenging. Local authorities have already collectively reached 27% in 2005. Some have reached much higher levels – up to 50% in some cases. But few have yet gone beyond this level. So on current evidence the 50% target for the whole of the country is very ambitious. But we will review the targets for 2015 and 2020 in the light of progress to the 2010 target and evidence of what can be achieved.
Why are you not setting a waste prevention target?
Our new target to reduce the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted will help focus on waste prevention as well as recycling.
On commercial and industrial waste the current data does not allow the total amount of waste to be measured regularly so it is not possible to set a measurable target at present. We will keep this under review.
What about the Landfill Directive targets?
These targets for reducing biodegradable municipal waste remain the same as these have been set by a European Directive and will be delivered through the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme. These are as follows:
- 2010 - reduce to 75% of 1995 level
- 2013 – reduce to 50% of 1995 level
- 2020 – reduce to 35% of 1995 level
What about targets for commercial and industrial waste?
We will set a target shortly for reducing the amount of commercial and waste landfilled. We have not yet set a target because we are still refining the modelling of the outcome and assessing the best way to measure it. We expect a 20% drop between 2004 and 2010 as a result of our policies – notably the planned landfill tax increases, and the restrictions on landfilling introduced by the Landfill Directive.
This will not be an extra burden on business. The reduction will result from policies already announced.
Possible target on construction and demolition waste for further discussion and consultation
No targets for this waste stream were set in Waste Strategy 2000. The sector generates more waste overall, and more hazardous waste, than any other. Waste Strategy 2007 proposes a target of halving the amount of this waste going landfill by 2012 (possibly against 2005) as a result of waste reduction, re-use and recycling. It is intended to include this target - for further discussion with the construction industry – in the consultation paper to be published shortly by the DTI on the Government’s Sustainable Construction Strategy. Any final target will be set out in that Strategy which is planned to be published by the end of the year.
What rates of waste growth are the targets based on?
We now expect lower levels of waste growth than when we published our consultation last year, and the targets reflect this. Municipal waste is growing much less quickly than the economy at 0.5% per year – the Impact Assessment (published alongside the strategy) sets out a range of growth scenarios. The Impact Assessment sets a central case for commercial and industrial waste growth of 1.5 % p.a.
Key facts and figures
- Recycling and composting of household waste was nearly 27% for England as a whole. This has nearly quadrupled since 1996/97.
- Recovery of municipal waste achievement was 37%.
Municipal waste is predominantly household waste but includes other waste collected by local authorities (litter, parks and garden waste, and commercial). Recovery includes all waste recycled, composted and from which energy is recovered.
These national targets supplement other targets already in place. Some of these are set in legislation – such as in the Packaging Directive – and some are set in voluntary agreements – such as for newspapers, magazines and direct mail.
Page last modified:
24 May 2007
Page published: 24 May 2007