B3.4 continued…


Stage 1.          Prevent waste from being generated.

If waste was eliminated in the first place, there would be no need to worry about waste disposal; its environmental impacts or the associated costs.

Where this is not possible, Stage 2 should be considered.


Stage 2.          Waste Minimisation.

Where it is not possible to eliminated waste completely, the production of waste should be minimised as far as possible. The less waste produced, the less environmental impact from disposal and the less cost involved.

Where this is not possible, Stage 3 should be considered.


Stage 3.          Re-Use Waste.

Where waste is produced, it should be re-used where possible.

Milk bottles are a good example of this. They are returned to the supplier and re-filled, being used many times.

Charity shops collecting donated clothes are another example. People who shop at Charity shops are in effect re-using other’s waste.

[Please note that this section discusses the principles of waste management and does not discuss the potential legal permissions required with regard to re-using waste]

Where it is not possible to reuse waste Stage 4 should be considered.


Stage 4.          Recycle Waste.

Recycling waste is a way of producing materials without using virgin raw materials.

Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy it takes to make new aluminium, and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions.

Producing steel from recycled material saves 75% of the energy needed for steel made from virgin material.

Through recycling waste we can conserve valuable raw materials. We can also reduce the environmental impacts created through raw material extraction and waste disposal.


Stage 5.          Recover Energy from Waste.

Where waste has been produced and it is not possible to recycle that waste, the final option is waste disposal. This is currently predominantly completed through landfill, although some areas incinerate their waste.

Where landfill or incineration is used, it is preferable to recover energy from that waste. At least the waste is being of some use, by creating energy.


Stage 6.          Waste Disposal.

The last resort is to dispose of waste, without recovering any energy from that process.


It is not known how long glass takes to break down but it is so long that glass made in the Middle East over 3000 years ago can still be found today.