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Many businesses are unaware of how significantly waste impacts on their bottom line. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy.

The “waste hierarchy” ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. It gives top priority to preventing waste in the first place. When waste is created, it gives priority to preparing it for re-use, then recycling, then recovery, and last of all disposal (e.g. landfill).

The Waste Hierarchy

Who does this apply to?
The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 came into force on the 29th March 2011, and became applicable from 28th September 2011. Regulation 12  says that businesses who import or produce, collect, transport, recover or dispose of waste, or who operate as dealers and brokers, must take all reasonable measures to apply the waste hierarchy when the waste is transferred.

What you need to do
If your business or organisation (including local authorities on behalf of householders) produces or handles waste (this includes importing, producing, carrying, keeping or treating waste; dealers or brokers who have control of waste, and anyone responsible for the transfer of waste), you must take all such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to:

  •     prevent waste, and
  •     apply the waste hierarchy when you transfer waste.

DEFRA has published a Guidance on applying the Waste Hierarchy, and a package of guidance to assist businesses and other organisations in England to make better decisions on waste and resource management. Vist the DEFRA Waste Hierarchy page for more information. This also includes a shorter summary guide aimed particularly at SMEs.

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