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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-management-in-the-uk-investment-opportunities/waste-management-in-the-uk-investment-opportunities
The UK’s waste management industry has a total annual turnover of £9 billion. There are 70,000 people employed in the sector across 3,000 companies.
The way waste is treated is important for material security, energy, climate change and environmental protection.
The UK deals with waste a number of ways. This includes:
- 40% of household waste being recycled
- 52 % of commercial and industrial waste recycled or reused
- 55% of local waste sent to landfill sites
Reducing and managing waste is a policy for the UK government.
2. Low carbon economy
The UK is focused on designing and developing low carbon solutions that will also help other countries reduce and manage their own carbon emissions. This is demonstrated by policies such as working on supporting India in it’s efforts for a low carbon economy.
3. EU landfill directive
The EU landfill directive requires the UK to:
- reduce landfill municipal waste by 65% of 1995 levels by 2020
- recycle compost or reuse 50% of household waste
It’s estimated that the UK requires £8 billion of investment to meet the 2020 landfill diversion targets. There is some evidence that there is a shortfall in residual waste treatment facilities meaning opportunities for overseas companies and investors.
4. Infrastructure opportunities
There is a need for investment in intermediate infrastructure due to regulatory and legislative requirements.
For example, the Waste Framework Directive requires separate collections for recyclable material. This will need investment in collection and storage infrastructure as well as more capacity to process these materials.
5. Packaging opportunities
Producers are increasingly having to comply with more strict regulations for packaging waste. This is an area where there is potential for growth and new opportunities for investment.
6. Waste type opportunities
Additional capacity is required for managing different waste types in England and Wales including:
- electrical and electronic equipment
There are investment opportunities in several areas:
- collection and sorting technologies to preserve the value of disused materials
- food waste processing
- treastment of waste wood and biomass
- disassembly of waste white goods and electronic equipment
- handling of textiles
- waste water and sewage treatment through diversification of water treatment plants
- technology development in packaging and waste prevention solutions
7. Government role in waste management
Local government is responsible for waste collection and disposal in the UK. This covers:
- waste collection and diposal
- recycling collection
- street cleaning and litter collection
- local collection points
- waste strategy and planning
The Environment Agency oversees the waste and environmental regulations in England and Wales; Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.
There are different locations across the UK known as Enterprise Zones that offer investors incentives to locate themselves there including:
- reduced taxes
- simpler planning rules
- financial benefits
Many Enterprise Zones have employment clusters, where businesses from the same sector are located in the same zones.
9. Contact Department for International Trade (DIT) for help
DIT can provide overseas companies and investors with more information about opportunities in the UK’s waste management market.