SWR JustBins

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SWR JustBins - Waste Hierarchy - Government legislation in England

Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy is Government legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland designed to make sure that waste producers are following the ‘Waste Management Hierarchy System’. It classifies waste management options in order of their environmental impact.

waste hierarchy


The five stages are:

Prevention – using less materials, re using material

Preparing – for re-use; checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing materials

Recycling – turning the waste into another product or substance

Other Recovery – anaerobic digestion, energy from waste

Disposal – landfill incineration without energy recovery


Preventing waste through using resources and raw materials efficiently is the best option, followed by reusing goods such as clothing, books and furniture. Recycling materials such as paper, glass and plastic into new products is the next preferable option. If unable to reuse or recycle then recovering value, often in the form of energy, from the remaining waste is promoted. A Zero Waste society is one where waste is managed as far up the hierarchy possible with disposal, such as landfill, being the option of last resort.


An example of applying the waste hierarchy to paper in an office:

Prevention – print less frequently, send invoices by email

Preparing – shred paper to resell or use instead of polystyrene when sending parcels

Recycling – make segregation easy and provide paper recycling bins in each office, arrange recycling collections for card and papers

Other Recovery – alternatively paper and board can be incinerated which recovers energy from the waste, this is a good option for dirty materials

Disposal – landfill is the final option and should be avoided for paper


The SWR JustBins team will provide the best solution for your business.

Find information tailored to your business and the waste hierarchy from WRAP


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