Press release

Consultation launch on revised Waste Framework Directive

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A consultation on how to implement the revised EU Waste Framework Directive in England and Wales was launched today.

The Directive will bring together new and existing measures to promote waste prevention, recycling, and better use of resources while protecting human health and the environment.

The consultation includes proposals on:

  • A legal obligation for those producing waste (other than householders) to deal with their waste in the best way possible for the environment wherever practical, prioritising actions to prevent waste in the first place; then preparing any waste for re-use; recycling it; using other types of recovery such as energy from waste; and if all else fails disposing of it.  This ‘waste hierarchy’ is already part of policy in many areas.
  • A statutory target to recycle 50% of waste from households by 2020.
  • A statutory target to recover 70% of construction and demolition waste by 2020.  There is an existing joint Government and industry voluntary target to halve construction, demolition and excavation waste disposed of in landfill by 2012, compared to a 2008 baseline.
  • Setting up where practical separate collections for: waste paper; metal; plastic; and glass by 2015. Separate collections can include co-mingled waste collection followed by separation at recycling facilities.

The revised WFD also requires member states to encourage the separate collection of bio-waste. Defra is not proposing any additional measures on this in the draft regulations. Guidance is already available to local authorities and the proposals in the consultation do not change existing bio-waste policy.

The Directive also includes a definition of the term ‘recycling’ for the purpose of setting and meeting targets.  Defra and the Devolved Administrations are reviewing which reprocessing techniques should be termed ‘recycling’, in order to ensure a UK-wide approach.  For example metals recycled from Incinerator Bottom Ash will now be counted as recycled, bringing England into line with the rest of the UK.

The consultation closes on 16 September 2010, and can be found on our Consultation pages.


A review of the Government’s waste policies was announced by the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman on 15 June 2010, and will consider all issues surrounding waste policy.

The priority is to reduce waste.  The UK will meet the first landfill diversion target in 2010 (75% of that produced in 1995), and is on track to meet the 2013 (50% of that produced in 1995) and 2020 (35% of that produced in 1995) targets.

The current household recycling rate is 39%.