Local authority collected waste – definition of terms

Sets out changes in terminology in definitions relating to waste reporting obligations.

Applies to England

This guide sets out the background to the change in terminology and definition of ‘municipal waste’ reporting in policy and statistical terms.


Previously the term ‘Municipal Waste’ as used in the UK was used in waste policies and nationally reported data to refer to waste collected by local authorities. In fact the definition of municipal waste as described in the Landfill Directive includes both household waste and that from other sources which is similar in nature and composition, which will include a significant proportion of waste generated by businesses and not collected by Local Authorities. In 2010, negotiations with the EU Commission and consultation with the waste community redefined national targets and the effects of this change in relation to the EU Landfill Directive targets. The review of waste policies will clarify any consequences for the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

To remove ambiguity, in the future references to ‘municipal waste’ will refer to the new definition. Therefore there is a need to define a new term to describe the data collected by WasteDataFlow. The agreed terminology arises from Defra’s response to the 2010 consultation on meeting the EU Landfill Diversion Targets in England.

Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste (LACMW)

LACMW refers to the previous ‘municipal’ element of the waste collected by local authorities. That is household waste and business waste where collected by the local authority and which is similar in nature and composition as required by the Landfill Directive. This is the definition that will be used for LATS allowances.

Local Authority Collected Waste (LACW)

All waste collected by the local authority. This is a slightly broader concept than LACMW as it would include both this and non municipal fractions such as construction and demolition waste. LACW is the definition that will be used in statistical publications, which previously referred to municipal waste.

WasteDataFlow Statistics

From 2011, statistical releases and outputs from WasteDataFlow will be branded as Local Authority Collected Waste. This reflects the coverage of the data collected. Previous outputs may be found which are described as ‘municipal waste’ but will purely reflect the old description – the data will not have changed and will only cover LA activity. We expect it will take some time for the new terminology to become established.

Defra statistics: environment

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Published 23 September 2011