Efficient Waste Management in the UK

Overview of UK Waste Management

In the UK, waste management is found to be done in a structured way with effective control and management by the government authorities. The Waste Collection Authority (WCA) is the local authority who is in charge of directing collection of municipal waste in the UK. There are nearly 367 WCAs located within Wales and England who act responsibly for ensuring the gathering of all form of waste from a minimum of 22 million homes as well as some local businesses (environmentlaw.org.uk, 1990). The WCA passes the collected waste the Waste Disposal Authority (WDA) who is responsible with the duty to treat and dispose the waste in proper places and ways (environmentlaw.org.uk, 1990). In the UK, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 led to the development of Waste Disposal Authority (WDA) who are also in-charge of using funds from the collected council taxes to facilitate the effective disposal of collected municipal waste. They are also responsible for framing and establishing plans for waste disposal in the local areas (gov.uk, 1990). Therefore, the WCA and WDA are seen to act in coordination in collection, managing, treatment and disposal of waste in the UK. For students pursuing the field of environmental studies, seeking guidance and assistance with their dissertation can be critical for navigating the complexities of waste management practices and policies. If you need more information visit environmental studies dissertation help, to avail support and guidance.

In addition, the Environment Agency in the UK is another lading authoritative body in the UK established in 1995 who is responsible in managing the sustainability of the environment and is sponsored to work by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affair in the UK (gov.uk, 1995). The Environment Agency in the UK has been responsible in issuing Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR). The EPR is mainly used in managing offences regarding regulated facilities such as waste operation, flood risk activities and water discharge (gov.uk, 1995). Thus, the WCA and WDA are responsible authorities for managing waste whereas Environment Agency acts in controlling offense related to waste management in the UK. One of the major natures of waste developed in the UK is food waste. This is evident as increased amount of food are found to be wasted due to handling or being surplus in the UK (gov.uk, 1995).


The statistics regarding food waste management in the UK revealed that in 2010 the total amount of food waste was 7 million which has currently become 3.6 million tonnes per annum as estimated in 2020 (WRAP 2011; WRAP, 2020). In 2010, the cost of the thrown away food waste in the UK which can be preventable is nearly £12 billion whereas, in 2020, the cost has been reduced to £1.2 billion (WRAP 2011; WRAP, 2020). This revealed that a huge reduction in the production of food waste in the UK has been achieved in the past 10 years. Moreover, the reduction in the waste has led the UK to save huge amount of food expenses for preventable food waste, in turn, creating value for food to be established. According to reported by WRAP, in 2020, 1.6 million tonnes per annum that is equal to 3.2% of the harvested food is been wasted in the UK. The waste on being divided based on product types revealed 54% of the waste included horticulture crops, 30% cereals, 8% livestock and 8% milk (WRAP, 2020). A huge amount of food currently been waste is found to be edible and on using strategically can be effective to resolve hinder issues to some extent in the UK (WRAP, 2020). This is evident as according to WRAP, 2 million of the food which is wasted in the UK is edible and enough to feel 1.3 million meals (WRAP, 2020). Thus, it can be seen that food waste management is becoming a serious issue in the UK as its effective control could lead better social situation in respect to meal for the needy people.

In order to reach increased reduction of food waste and ensure its effective management, the UK government has undertaken various schemes and campaigns at large. One of such campaign is “Love Food Hate Wastes” which is launched and organised by the Waste & Resources Action Programme Authorities in the UK. The campaign has the key aim in reducing the amount of food waste by preventing edible and surplus food from going into the waste to be used for meaningful purpose (WRAP, 2007). The campaign is considered to be effective in supporting more than 2 million households in the UK to reduce food waste which in turn has led to stop 37,000 tonnes of food from going to the waste saving nearly £300 million for food waste (WRAP, 2007). In the UK, a new campaign “Make Toast Not Waste” is been recently organised by the WRAP which aims to provide different recipes to the public in using frozen breads that are fit to be edible but throw away by the household to be reduced (lovefoodhatewaste.com, 2021). This indicates that the food management campaigns in the UK are focussing to reduce food waste by informing people about the way they can sustainably use the leftover foods that are edible. The Fareshare along with the Trussell Trust are seen to contact and cooperate with leading supermarket in the UK such as Tesco to promote food donation schemes in the food banks (fareshare.org.uk, 2020). The food donation scheme in the food bank are effective measures as it helps to avoid surplus food being wasted and be available for needy people.

In the UK, the most popular waste management treatment done for disposal of the waste is Landfill. It is estimated that nearly 57% of the controlled waste in the UK coming from household, industry and commercial business are disposed in the landfill sites in the UK (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2017; assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2015). The other common modes of waste disposal and treatment is anaerobic digestion and incineration in the UK. In this process, mainly the biodegradable waste such as foods are decomposed with the help of micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen and light to produce nutrient-rich biofertilisers and renewable energy (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2017; assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2015). In the incarnation treatment, the waste are mainly burned to develop hot gas and ash leading to reduce the volume of the waste by 90% and weight by 30%. The heat developed in the process is used for heating water and producing steam (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2017; assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2015). Thus, it can be seen varied treatment are available and used in the UK for waste management of any nature.

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Timeline of major organisation and scheme established for Waste Management in the UK
Figure4.0: Gantt chart


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environmentlaw.org.uk 1990, Waste Collection Authority, Available at: http://www.environmentlaw.org.uk/rte.asp?id=85 [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

fareshare.org.uk 2020, Food waste and hunger in the UK, Available at: https://fareshare.org.uk/what-we-do/hunger-food-waste/ [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

feedbackglobal.org 2020, Pig Idea Scheme, Available at: https://feedbackglobal.org/campaigns/pig-idea/ [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

gov.uk 1990, Waste Disposal Authority, Available at: https://www.gov.uk/browse/environment-countryside/recycling-waste-management [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

gov.uk 1995, Environment Agency, Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

lovefoodhatewaste.com 2021, Make Toast Not Waste, Available at: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/toast [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

publications.parliament.uk 2018, Food waste in England, Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/429/429.pdf [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

recyclenow.com 2010, Recycle Now Campaign, Available at: https://www.recyclenow.com/about-us [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

vision2020.info 2020, Vision 2020: UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill, Available at: https://www.vision2020.info/assets/pdf/Vision_2020_roadmap.pdf [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

WRAP 2005, Waste Resources Action Programme, Available at: https://wrap.org.uk/ [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

WRAP 2007, Love Food Hate Waste, Available at: https://wrap.org.uk/taking-action/citizen-behaviour-change/love-food-hate-waste/key-campaigns [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

WRAP 2011, Estimates for household food and drink waste in the UK 2011, Available at: https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/estimates-household-food-and-drink-waste-uk-2011 [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

WRAP 2020, Food waste in primary production in the UK, Available at: https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/food-waste-primary-production-uk [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

WRAP 2021, Food Waste Action Week 2021, Available at: https://wrap.org.uk/taking-action/citizen-behaviour-change/love-food-hate-waste/key-campaigns/food-waste-action-week [Accessed on: 17 March 2021]

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