Waste management

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on waste management. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

This note considers the financial cost of litter in England and Wales, and the penalties available under current legislation to the enforcing authorities. It also considers forthcoming legislation, and what the public and local groups can do to combat litter.
05.02.2013Bin collection - Alternate weekly collection
Waste collection can be a contentious issue, particularly when local authorities decide to move away from weekly bin collection to alternate weekly collection (AWC). This note describes the reasons why authorities have chosen to do this, and related issues including the recently announced Weekly Collections Support Scheme.
11.07.2012Metal theft
This note looks at the increasingly high-profile problem of metal theft, which the Association of Chief Police Officers has estimated costs the UK economy approximately 770 million per year. There have been calls to reform the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 to tighten up controls on scrap metal dealers. In January 2012 the Government announced that it would be amending the 1964 Act to introduce a ban on cash payments for scrap metal and unlimited fines for relevant offences under the Act. These changes are set out in sections 145 to 147 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. In June 2012 Richard Ottaway introduced a Private Member's Bill that proposes to repeal the 1964 Act altogether and replace it with a new regulatory regime. The Bill has Government support.
13.07.2011Energy from waste and incineration
This note looks at the role of energy from waste and incineration.
05.08.2010Fly tipping--the illegal dumping of waste
There are large environmental, social and financial impacts associated with fly tipping and the illegal dumping of waste. Local authorities, the Environment Agency and landowners spend more than £100 million every year tackling the consequences of fly tipping. This note gives a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly-tipping and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it.

Research Papers

06.11.2012Scrap Metal Dealers Bill: Committee Stage Report
It is thought that scrap metal dealers are the main outlet for stolen metal and that the existing regulatory regime for dealers fails to discourage the trade in stolen metal. Richard Ottaway's Private Member's Bill, The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012, will introduce a more robust licensing regime to disrupt the trade in stolen metal. The Bill has cross party support. Its Report Stage is due on 9 November 2012.
10.07.2012Scrap Metal Dealers Bill
The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill seeks to introduce a more robust regulatory regime for scrap metal dealers to reduce the opportunities for metal thieves to sell stolen material.
22.10.2008Climate Change Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report
Climate Change Bill. (Bill 129 of 2007/08) House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/79.
06.06.2008Climate Change Bill [HL]
(Bill 97 of 2007-08)
25.04.2007Social Indicators
Social Indicators. [Includes article on Smoking in Public Places and The 2007 Census Test and a Topical Subject Page on Waste and Recycling] House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/38.

Select Committee Reports

24.03.2010Waste Strategy for England 2007.
Government response. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report [Commons]
16.03.2010Radioactive waste management: a further update.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
06.01.2010Waste strategy for England 2007.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House supports the Stop the Drop campaign, run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and its President Bill Bryson, to clean up litter and fly-tipping in the countryside; ...
That this House is concerned by the findings of the Environmental Investigation Agency's report System Failure revealing that hazardous waste electrical and electronic equipment is ...
That this House notes the publication by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the draft National Policy Statement on waste water; recognises the need to construct ...
That this House notes that approximately four per cent. of all waste to landfill is disposable nappies, which equates to three billion nappies weighing 690,000 tonnes; is concerned ...
That this House is concerned at what happens to some materials that are collected for recycling by local authorities; welcomes the initiative of Somerset Waste Partnership in publishing ...

Lords Library Notes

08.01.2010Debate on 14th January: The Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. LLN 2010/001
Debate on 14th January: The Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate to be held on Thursday 14th January: 'To call attention to the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change' The UN Conference on Climate Change took place in Copenhagen from 7th-19th December 2009. This Note explains the significance of the Conference in the context of previous international agreements on climate change, sets out the major disagreements that marred the negotiating process in Copenhagen and summarises the key elements contained in the final Copenhagen Accord. It considers analysis of the Accord's achievements and shortcomings, and summarises the reactions of key nations and interest groups.

POST Papers

16.01.2013Maximising the Value of Recycled Materials
This POSTnote provides an overview of the way materials are recycled in England and how their economic value can be better exploited.
15.09.2011Anaerobic digestion
This POSTnote examines the potential for anaerobic digestion in the UK and the main challenges connected with its development.
01.07.2007Electronic waste, July 2007
This POSTnote outlines the types of Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) and examines the implementation and potential impacts of the legislation. Electronic waste, July 2007. POSTnote 07/291.
01.04.2007Energy and sewage, April 2007
This POSTnote evaluates options for sewage treatment in terms of energy conservation and renewable energy generation. Energy and sewage, April 2007. POSTnote 07/282.
01.04.1995Waste derived fuels and cement kilns
This POSTnote examines the technical aspects of burning waste-derived fuels in cement kilns and the issues raised. POSTnote 60. POST. 1995.
01.03.1995Waste recycling
This short report looks at the current extent of waste recycling, the technical potential for increasing the amount of waste recycled and issues arising. POST technical report 58. POST. 1995.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses