What Is The Waste Hierarchy?

You might have heard about the ‘waste hierarchy’ before. Many people have – both homeowners and business owners alike. And if you’ve ever tried to hire a skip or set up a waste service for a business before, you’ve probably heard the phrase once or twice.

But what does it actually mean? And why do you need to know?

The waste hierarchy details the various ways that you can deal with waste, in order of which solution is more preferable. It’s essentially a guide on how best your waste can be treated in order to support the environment.

So whether you are a homeowner, business owner or somebody who deals with waste management, it’s ideal that you work inline with the waste hierarchy in order to make the most use of your resources.

1. Reduce

Using less resources/materials is the first step into cutting down waste.

One example of this is the scheme to cut down on plastic bags, which has drastically reduced the number of plastic wasted in the UK.

2. Reuse

The next preferable solution is to reuse the resources/materials that you have wherever possible to prolong their use.

Referring back to the plastic bag example – encouraging people to use ‘Bags for Life’ that are made for reuse is one way.

3. Recycle

When the time comes to get rid of your waste, recycling is the ideal solution.

We’re big fans of recycling here at JWS, as it supports the circular economy by using your waste to create new products and materials.

4. Recovery

Non-recyclable waste can be treated to create a resource for energy called ‘Refuse Derived Fuel’.

The RDF is incinerated in a process which produces heat and electricity.

5. Disposal

When the waste can’t be recycled or recovered, it is then disposed of at a landfill site.

Landfill disposal is the least favourable option is disposal and should be avoided wherever possible.