United Kingdom

Solid Waste Management

It is estimated that 290 million tonnes of waste was produced in the United Kingdom in 2008 but volumes are declining.[1] In 2012 municipal solid waste generation was almost 30 million tonnes, according to Waste Atlas Platform.

The National Waste Strategy is a policy of the government, and in particular the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), intended to foster a move to sustainability in waste management within Great Britain.


In the UK, the most common disposal method is landfill. Incineration, anaerobic digestion and other disposal methods are also used. Each year approximately 111 million tonnes, or 57%, of all UK of controlled waste (household, commercial and industrial waste) are disposed of in landfill sites. Some waste from sewage sludge is also placed in landfill sites, along with waste from mining and quarrying.

The UK has valuable minerals that are mined extensively for industry. The extraction of these minerals produces large holes in the ground, which need to be filled in and landscaped. The use of these sites for the burial of waste seems a convenient solution. The UK has ideal underlying geology in many places, making landfill a cheap waste disposal option. In 1994 there were approximately 4000 landfill sites in the UK.

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