A new release calendar has been launched on GOV.UK. The Publication Hub website will soon be decommissioned.

Skip to content

This topic covers multiple data sources which are used to produce estimates of the generation and management of waste. The data are available by sector, waste type and waste management method. The topic below gives an overview of total waste generation in the UK along with information on waste generation and recycling from households and industrial and commercial businesses in England.

Publications

Continuous Household Survey Bulletin
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
The Bulletin provides summary information as well as some trend data from previous years. It includes information on - smoking, household composition, debt, internet access, health, sport and leisure, environmental issues, mobile phones and job applications.
Fly-tipping in England
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
A summary of fly-tipping incidents in England, by local authority.
Fly-tipping in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
This Statistical Release gives a summary of fly-tipping incidents in Wales.
Key Scottish Environment Statistics
Department: Scottish Government
Summary statistics for a wide range of environmental topics and main "drivers". These include electricity generation, road traffic, population and households.
Local Authority Collected Waste Management Statistics
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
National, regional and local authority level statistics detailing waste collected and disposed of by local authorities in England, in tonnes, method of collection and method of disposal.
Local Authority Municipal Waste Management
Department: Welsh Government
A report that provides information on household and non-household waste such as disposal, reuse, recycling and composting rates.
Municipal Waste Management Statistics
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Final estimates of municipal waste arisings and management for England and the regions.
Municipal Waste Management Survey
Department: Welsh Government
Includes information about the amount of municipal waste collected from household and non-household sources and the levels of recycling in Wales .
Municipal Waste Management for Wales
Department: Welsh Government
This Statistical Release presents data on muncipal waste management for Wales.
Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics
Department: Environment (Northern Ireland)
This report concerns Local Authority Collected Municipal and Household waste management for all 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland in the annual reporting year.
Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics Report
Department: Environment (Northern Ireland)
The publication contains data relating to Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics.
Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics
Department: Environment (Northern Ireland)
This report concerns Municipal and Household waste management for all 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland in the annual reporting year.
Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics Report
Department: Environment (Northern Ireland)
The publication contains data relating to Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics.
Survey of Commercial and Industrial Waste Arisings in England
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Estimates of commercial and industrial waste arisings and management for England in 2009, split by wide economic sector, waste material type, and Government Office Region.
Sustainable Development indicators
Department: Office for National Statistics
These indicators provide an overview of progress toward a sustainable economy, society and environment. Published alongside the headline and supplementary indicators are assessments of change, both short and long term.

Back to the top

Overview

Waste can arise from many sources:

  • Households
  • Commercial and industrial businesses
  • Construction and demolition activities
  • Agriculture
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Dredging and sewage sludge

There are various management methods for dealing with waste:

The waste hierarchy is a framework that sets out the order in which options for waste management should be considered, based on environmental impact. This involves prevention of waste by meeting our needs using fewer natural resources, followed by reuse of products consumed or their materials recycled. Energy should be recovered from remaining wastes where possible and disposal to landfill should only be necessary for small amounts of residual material.

A range of data sources are used to compile estimates of waste production and management:

Data on total UK waste?generation is collated every two years to fulfill the EU Waste Statistics Regulation reporting requirements. A?range of data sources are used to compile the data for the UK countries.

Data on household waste is provided by local authorities through WasteDataFlow, a quarterly web-based survey. This provides National Statistics on Local Authority Collected Waste and data for the revised Waste Framework Directive target of recycling 50 per cent of waste from households by 2020.

Data on commercial and industrial business waste comes from occasional National surveys of businesses. The last two surveys in England were carried out in 2002/3 and 2010 by the Environment Agency (EA) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) respectively.?

Back to the top

Technical Data

Different data sources are used to obtain information on wastes collected by local authorities?and businesses. For Local Authority Collected Waste, data is submitted by local authorities through WasteDataFlow. For commercial and industrial waste, occasional National surveys provide the most recent data available.

?

1. WasteDataFlow: Local Authority Collected Waste

WasteDataFlow is completed quarterly by all local authorities in the UK. Questions are asked on the amounts of household and non-household waste collected by authorities, by source and material, and the management route used for this waste.

WasteDataFlow has replaced the?previous?Defra Municipal Waste Management Survey in England and similar surveys in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

WasteDataFlow is designed for local authorities:

  • to allow faster and more accurate data collection of Local Authority Collected Waste statistics, more regularly and efficiently

  • to enhance their local data management for reporting and strategic planning purposes, and

  • to offer them streamlined access to performance benchmarking with other authorities

WasteDataFlow will allow government:

  • to produce National Statistics on Local Authority Collected Waste

  • in particular to enable local authorities to meet the requirement to report quarterly data to the Monitoring authority under Landfill Allowances Tradings Schemes regulations, and

  • to provide an evidence base to guide government policy

Defra?publish estimates for England and the regions each quarter.

The figures for?2009/10 show the following changes:

  • An increase in the national household recycling rate, from?37.6 per cent in 2008/9 to?39.7 per cent in 2009/10

  • Local Authority Collected Waste sent to landfill has decreased from?13.8million tonnes?to?12.5 million tonnes, or?46.9 per cent of total Local Authority Collected Waste

  • The total amount of Local Authority Collected Waste generated has decreased by 2.9 per cent from 27.3 million tonnes in 2008/9 to 26.5 million tonnes in 2009/10. A decrease in total household waste generation was also observed, from?24.3 to 23.7 million tonnes, and

  • The average residual household waste per head decreased from 295kg per head in 2008/9 to?275kg per head in 2009/10

?

2. Commercial and Industrial waste

Data on commercial and industrial (C&I) waste is obtained through occasional National surveys, carried out in each of the UK countries. The most recent?data available is from the?Defra Survey of Commercial and Industrial Waste Arisings 2010 which?collected data on wastes?generated by?businesses in?England for the calendar year 2009.??

Defra Survey of Commercial and Industrial Waste Arisings, England,?2010

During 2010, Defra commissioned a National survey?of business waste arisings in England to provide estimates of the amount of waste that businesses generate and how it is managed. This?was the first survey of this nature since the Environment Agency completed a similar survey in 2002/3. The 2010 results were published according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

The survey covered 6,005 businesses across England, excluding the North West, and these results were combined with the data from a recent survey in North West England in order?to maximise value for money. The survey ran between June and October 2010, collecting data on waste generated in 2009, through?four methods:

  • face-to-face interviews (3,273 business sites)

  • telephone interviews (801 business sites)

  • from the Environment Agency for companies in the sample that have Pollution Prevention and Control licenses (319 business sites)?

  • company head offices (1,612 business sites)?

The survey was carried out to:

  • provide a timely update to our understanding of commercial and industrial waste and fill a clear evidence gap

  • underpin proposals for the Waste Policy Review that is currently in progress

  • provide more up to date figures to enable national reporting under EU regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 on waste statistics (Waste Statistics Regulation)

  • underpin local and regional waste?management and land-use planning direction in London and the South West, where more intensive sampling was?carried out.?

The key findings from the?commercial and industrial (C&I) waste?survey are:

  • Total C&I waste generation in England, in 2009, is estimated to be?47.9 million tonnes (mt). This is a decrease of 29 per cent from 67.9mt since the last national survey of business waste in 2002/3

  • The industrial sector accounts for 24.2mt and the commercial sector 23.8mt. Industrial wastes have declined by 13.4mt, or 36 per cent, since 2002/3 and commercial wastes have declined by 6.5mt, or 21 per cent, in the same period.?

  • A total of 25.0mt, or 52 per cent, of C&I waste was recycled or reused in England in 2009, compared to 42 per cent in 2002/3. A total of 11.3mt, or 24 per cent, of C&I waste were sent to landfill in 2009, compared to 41 per cent in 2002/3.

  • Small enterprises, with between 0 and 49 employees, produced 16.6mt of C&I waste in England in 2009, or 35 per cent of total C&I waste

The final project report and data tables, along with results from the EA 2002/3 survey,?are available?on the Defra website.

Studies of C&I waste?have also been carried out in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in previous years.??

Back to the top

Glossary

  • Centralised composting

    Large-scale schemes that handle kitchen and garden waste from households and which may also accept suitable waste from parks.

  • Civic Amenity waste (or Household Waste Recycling Centre waste)

    A sub-group of household waste, normally delivered by the public direct to sites provided by the local authority. Consists generally of bulky items such as beds, cookers and garden waste as well as recyclables.

  • Co-mingled materials

    Waste collected in a mixed form that is destined for recycling after further sorting.

  • Commercial waste

    Waste arising from any premises which are used wholly or mainly for trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment, excluding municipal and industrial waste.

  • Composting

    An aerobic, biological process in which organic wastes, such as garden and kitchen waste are converted into a stable granular material. The result can be applied to land to improve soil structure and enrich the nutrient content of the soil.

  • Controlled waste

    Household, industrial, commercial and clinical waste that requires a waste management permit for treatment, transfer and disposal. Other legislation and procedures control radioactive and explosive wastes.

  • Energy recovery from waste

    Includes a number of established and emerging technologies, though most energy recovery is through incineration technologies. Many wastes are combustible, with relatively high calorific values - this energy can be recovered through, for example, incineration with electricity generation.

  • Household waste

    Includes waste from: 1. household collection rounds (waste within Schedule 1 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992) 2. waste from services such as street sweeping 3. bulky waste collection 4. hazardous household waste collection 5. litter collections 6. household clinical waste collection and separate garden waste collection (waste within Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992) 7. civic amenity sites 8. separate waste collections for recycling or composting through bring/drop off schemes, kerbside schemes and at civic amenity sites ?

  • Industrial waste

    Waste from any factory and from any premises occupied by an industry (excluding mines and quarries).

  • Integrated co-collection

    Kerbside schemes where materials for recycling are collected by the same vehicle at the same time as the ordinary household waste collection.

  • Kerbside collection

    Any regular collections of recyclables from premises, including collections from commercial or industrial premises as well as from households. Excludes services delivered on demand.

  • Landfill sites

    Any areas of land in which waste is deposited. Landfill sites are often located in disused mines or quarries. In areas where they are limited or no readymade voids exist, the practice of landraising is sometimes carried out, where waste is deposited above ground and the landscape is contoured.

  • Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste (LACMW)

    Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste refers to?household and business waste, where collected by the local authority, is similar in nature and composition.

  • Local Authority Collected Waste

    This includes all waste collected by the local authority. This is a slightly broader concept than LACMW as it incorporates both this and non municipal fractions such as construction and demolition waste.?It can include: 1. municipal parks and gardens waste 2. beach cleansing waste 3. commercial or industrial waste 4. waste resulting from the clearance of fly-tipped materials

  • Mechanised metal extraction

    Processes that allow the extraction of ferrous and non-ferrous metals from waste. This includes magnetic extraction and eddy current separation, but does not include hand sorting.

  • Municipal waste

    Municipal waste includes both household waste and that from other sources which is similar in nature and composition, which?will include a significant proportion of waste generated by businesses and not collected by Local?Authorities.?

  • Recycling

    Involves the reprocessing of wastes, either into the same product or a different one. Many non-hazardous industrial wastes such as paper, glass, cardboard, plastics and scrap metals can be recycled. Special wastes such as solvents can also be recycled by specialist companies, or by in-house equipment.

  • Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)

    A process whereby municipal waste is compressed into pellets which are then used as a solid fuel supplement in a power station.

  • Separate collection

    Kerbside schemes where materials for recycling are collected either by a different vehicle or at a different time to the ordinary household waste collection.

  • Special waste

    Is defined by the Control of Pollution (Special Wastes) Regulations 1980 as any controlled waste that: 1. contains any of the substances listed in Schedule 1 to the regulations 2. is dangerous to life 3. has a combustion flashpoint of 21C or less 4. is a medical product as defined by the Medicines Act 1968

  • Treatment

    Involves the chemical or biological processing of certain types of waste for the purpose of rendering them harmless, reducing volumes before land filling, or recycling certain wastes.

  • Unitary Authority (UA)

    A local authority which has the responsibilities of both Waste Collection and Waste Disposal Authorities. ?

  • Waste

    The wide ranging term encompassing most unwanted materials, defined by the EU Waste Framework Directive and the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Waste includes any scrap material, effluent or unwanted surplus substance or article that requires to be disposed of because it is broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled. Explosives and radioactive wastes are excluded.

  • Waste Collection Authority (WCA)

    A local authority charged with the collection of waste from each household in its area on a regular basis. Can also collect, if requested, commercial and industrial wastes from the private sector.

  • Waste Disposal Authority (WDA)

    A local authority charged with providing disposal sites to which it directs the Waste Collection Authorities for the disposal of their controlled wastes, and for providing Civic Amenity facilities.

Back to the top

Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

David Lee

Email: enviro.statistics@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: + 44 (0) 8459 33 55 77

DEFRA Environment Statistics Service (ESS) Ergon House 11 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR

Back to the top