Household waste management in the UK: current practices and challenges

The UK’s reliance on landfill sites for waste disposal has been addressed in recent years with the Landfill Directive and Landfill Tax. This has encouraged Local Authorities to seek alternative methods of treating household waste, introducing and expanding kerbside collections of recyclates and organic waste. This paper assesses current household waste management practices and challenges in the UK. Drivers and instruments for change and various approaches to kerbside waste collections are discussed. The current household waste management challenges in the UK are identified, including the division of responsibility for household waste management between various Local Authorities and Government Departments and the methods available to tackle these issues. The research revealed adopting an integrated management system for household waste to comply with legislation and behavioural attitudes towards recycling and waste reduction activities are obstacles facing Local Authorities. Conversely, segregation of household waste by material is increasing, with separate kerbside collections for recyclates, organic waste and bulky waste collections, some of which is selected for reuse. The challenge now is to improve the yield of recyclates, reach people that do not segregate their waste for recycling and increase the quantity of material from participating householders with imaginative ways for reuse and recycling.