Introduction to waste management

What is the waste management hierarchy?


You can save money if you manage your waste well and choose the best waste management options for your business. You need to choose the best waste management options for dealing with each type of waste your business produces.

Waste management hierarchy

You should follow the waste management hierarchy when choosing a waste option. The waste hierarchy can help you to choose the least environmentally damaging option, in order:

  1. Reduce - the most cost-effective option is to cut the amount of waste you produce in the first place.
  2. Reuse - products and materials can be reused by your own business or another organisation.
  3. Recycle and compost - these options ensure that benefit is still gained from goods and materials that have reached the end of their useful life.
  4. Recover energy - some facilities use waste to generate energy or produce biofuel.
  5. Dispose - the least sustainable option is to bury waste at landfill sites or burn it without recovering energy, as these do not lead to any benefit from the waste.

You must declare on your waste transfer note or hazardous waste consignment note that you have applied the waste management hierarchy.

When choosing a waste option for your business, you should consider:

  • what waste facilities are available near your business premises
  • the type of waste you have to dispose of
  • the cost or profit involved in dealing with your waste
  • the environmental impacts of disposing of your waste

You should select the best waste management option available as part of a co-ordinated plan to improve the way you deal with waste.

Whichever waste management options you choose, you must comply with waste legislation and your duty of care for waste.