Press release

The path towards a zero waste economy: waste review launched

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

The Government’s review of waste policies has been formally launched today.

Opening a call for evidence, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman called on businesses, households, communities, and local authorities in England to contribute their views.

The review will look at what policies are needed to reduce the amount of waste generated and to maximise reuse and recycling, while also considering how waste policies affect local communities, individual households and businesses.

Caroline Spelman said:

“This is an exciting opportunity to look again at how we can increase recycling, reduce landfill and help unlock the real economic value of items people no longer want.

“We are  committed to working towards a zero waste economy because it makes environmental and economic sense. Reducing waste needs to be made as easy as possible for people, it should be driven by incentives not penalties and common sense rather than coercion.

“We want everyone to have their say on what waste policies should look like and how existing policies affect them.  This will be a comprehensive review of all waste policy from product packaging to waste collection and I would urge everyone to get involved.”

Some of the areas the review will consider include:

  • How voluntary ‘Responsibility Deals’ with businesses can play a role in waste reduction and more efficient use of resources;
  • How best to encourage and incentivise individuals, businesses and communities to produce less waste and recycle more;
  • How government can work with local councils to increase the frequency and quality of rubbish collections;
  • Future infrastructure needs, including the role of energy from waste and anaerobic digestion; and
  • How business and household waste is collected, sorted and recycled.

People can contribute to the review through the Defra website, by responding to the call for evidence or taking part in an interactive debate on waste policies.  Information about the Review, including the Terms of Reference and call for evidence, can be found on our review of waste policy consultation page.


  • The waste review was announced by Caroline Spelman on 15 June 2010 at the Futuresource conference.
  • The Coalition Agreement committed the Government to “work towards a zero waste economy and encourage councils to pay people to recycle and reduce littering” and “measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion”.
  • Defra’s Structural Reform Plan sets out an action to “set the path towards a ‘zero waste’ economy through review of waste policies”.
  • This is a review of waste policies in England.  Defra will lead the review working closely with other departments, devolved administrations, local government and businesses, and engaging widely with interested parties.