A beginner’s guide to the waste hierarchy

Topic Selected: Waste and Recycling

General Article icon Type: General Article

Much of how we handle waste in the modern world is now driven by what is called the waste hierarchy. It’s a process that is outlined in the EU Waste Framework directive and involves the important stages of prevention, reuse and recycling, before final disposal. The aim of the hierarchy is to make sure that we send much less of our waste to landfill and recycle as much as possible.

In the UK alone we produce in the region of 100 million tonnes of waste annually. Every home and every office and industry produces its fair share of rubbish. Each household creates about a tonne of waste every year and the average home throws away the equivalent of six trees worth of paper and card. The good news is that almost two thirds of the paper waste that we produce in the UK is now recycled thanks to local councils and their waste management processes.

Sticking to the waste hierarchy is a key factor in all this.

Waste prevention

The best way to cut down on waste

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