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.

Commons Briefing Papers

09.10.2015Household recycling in the UK
This Commons Library Briefing Paper discusses UK trends in recycling and the applicable legislation at both EU and UK level. It provides an overview of the EU circular economy proposals and explains recycling policy across the UK. It also includes information on common barriers to recycling and local authority approaches to overcoming these barriers.
15.09.2015The problem of fly-tipping - the illegal dumping of waste
This Commons Library briefing paper 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. In 2013/14 there was a significant increase in reported cases of fly-tipping across England.
02.09.2015Food Waste
This Commons Library Briefing Paper describes the scale and implications of food waste, and sets out industry and other responses to tackle it.
24.07.2015The 5p Plastic Bag Charge
This Commons Library briefing paper provides information on the single use carrier bag charge in each part of the UK, examines the legal basis for the charge, the exemptions and what will be done with the proceeds of the charge. Impacts of the charge on carrier bag use and criticisms of the charge are also covered.
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.
09.06.2015EU exit: impact in key UK policy areas
If the UK left the EU, would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal. In some areas, the environment, for example, where the UK is bound by other international agreements, much of the content of EU law would probably remain. In others, the government might decide to retain the substance of EU law, or to remove EU obligations from UK statutes. Much would also depend on whether the UK sought to remain in the European Economic Area and therefore continue to have access to the single market, or preferred to go it alone and negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU. This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change be if the UK left the EU.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Energy
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on energy in the UK.
18.12.2014Septic tanks: new regulations
This note explains the legislation relating to septic tanks in England.
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.
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.

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.


05.01.2016Trends in the Environment
Human activities interact with natural systems in complex ways; they can cause long-term damage to systems humans are dependent on. This POSTnote summarises a range of such pressures on the environment. It also identifies a number of trends and their effects on the UK.
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.

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 ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses