UK waste minimisation clubs: a contribution to sustainable waste management

Paul S Phillips, Adam D Read, A E Green, Margaret P Bates

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The UK waste strategy is based upon the central concept of the hierarchy of preferable options for the treatment and disposal of waste. Minimisation is placed at the top of the hierarchy and the Government seeks to encourage its uptake by industry and commerce as well as householders. It has been accepted that previous waste management policy and practice have not delivered the hoped for movement up the hierarchy. Within the UK, landfill still predominates as the option most commonly used to deal with waste. Movement towards more sustainable waste management practice has been identified as a priority, in the UK, by the present Labour Government. To that end, they have recently produced a series of consultation papers on sustainable issues that set out their vision and confirm waste minimisation as a key strategy for the future. In an attempt to stimulate the uptake of minimisation methodology by industry, waste minimisation clubs have been developed across the UK. There have been around 60 such clubs and they receive support and guidance from a range of organisations, including the Environment Agency and the ETBPP. These clubs have demonstrated that a significant reduction in waste arisings can occur when minimisation methodology is applied. Minimisation strategies often lead to improved resource efficiency and this is reflected in clear financial savings, e.g. the Leicester Waste Minimisation Initiative recorded mean savings, at the end of year one, of 0.26% of joint turnover. The median, however, better reflects the actual savings and it is apparent that even within a successful club there can be a wide range of performance by companies. Not all clubs have been successful and there has been little attention to the causes of failure in the UK. There are marked regional variations in club distribution and the proposed Regional Development Agencies, working with the Environment Agency, need to quickly establish strategies for minimisation uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)217-247
Number of pages31
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1999

Keywords

  • Waste
  • club
  • minimisation
  • minimization
  • sustainable

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