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Household Waste Prevention Policy Side Research Programme - WR0103

The objective is to deliver a sound evidence base for better-informed policy development for household waste prevention (HWP). There are 2 outputs:

i) Policy Tools Review, focusing on those policies that have an impact on the amount of waste produced e.g. advertising regulations; and

ii) Responsibility Analysis which will ensure that all engaged in HWP are clear as to who is responsible for what.

Our previous research has shown that the UK waste/resource management sector lacks clear and well-understood accountability structures.

The results will provide clarity on the policy tools available to help reduce waste, and will be disseminated to policy makers so as to encourage action. It is estimated that reduction in household waste growth of 1% per annum might save £1 billion in net present value terms over the next 20 years (Ref.1). The work will enhance understanding of the impacts of specific policy interventions.

The Phase 1 report identified a number of initiatives, but rather less by way of policy interventions/amendments to policy to assist in the drive towards waste reduction. It is this gap which the research seeks to fill. The aim is to undertake a thorough review of how policies affect the amount of waste which ultimately finds its way into the household waste stream. In addition, the responsibilities of different organisations with important roles to play will be mapped out.

This work compliments existing research in three other areas which are currently stimulating considerable interest:

·Integrated product policy, in which the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment Agency is playing a key role (Refs.5-7).
·Household incentives for waste reduction (Refs.8-16).
·The more general application of market-based instruments for environmental policy (Refs.17-25).

These are areas of work where the project partners have considerable experience.

The objectives of this research are:

1)to identify the actors/organisations with responsibility/potential responsibility for implementing measures in respect of HWP;
2)to map these actors/organisations to their responsibilities, and so to develop a coherent picture of who might play what role in respect of HWP in the UK;
3)to comment on the structure of these responsibilities from a perspective which seeks to improve the potential for HWP through UK waste and resource management policy
4)to identify policies for HWP in use in other countries (especially in Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium);
5)to identify policies in place in the UK:
a.with the potential to be applied ‘more positively’ in respect of HWP;
b.which have a detrimental impact in respect of HWP;
6)to identify, through discussions with stakeholders, policies which could be used in the UK to foster HWP
7)to carry out a basic assessment of the policies identified under 4), 5) and 6) above in respect of:
a.Potential impact (in the short-term static sense)
b.Potential to drive forward innovation (i.e., dynamic impact in the medium- to long-term)
c.Cost effectiveness
d.Economic implications
e.Political acceptability

8)to identify, through discussions with actors/representatives of organisations identified under 1) above, the top ten policies to be taken forward for more detailed analysis;
9)to carry out a more detailed assessment of the ten policies identified with a view to assessing their potential impact, and their applicability in the UK context;
10)to disseminate the work to policy makers, including those identified under 1) above, through briefings, conferences, journal articles, national press and the internet, and so to promote more active uptake of the HWP agenda in the UK through policy measures as opposed to more ad hoc measures and initiatives.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Household Waste Prevention - Final Report   (4909k)
• Executive Summary : Household Waste Prevention - SID 5 Project Summary   (317k)
• Executive Summary : Household Waste Prevention - SID5 final report   (56k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2007

Cost: £160,695
Contractor / Funded Organisations
The Environment Council
Effective household waste prevention              
Environmental Protection              
Policy Development              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Resource Consumption and Management              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management