The Waste Hierarchy

Recycling is great when you’ve finished using an item, but in an ideal world the best way to prevent waste is not to produce it in the first place.

Like only buying the things you really need and avoiding the temptation of sales, discounts and buying one to get one free. If you need to buy, then consider quality over cost (not always possible), durability, pre-loved items (giveaways) and clothing that still have a useful purpose. Or, consider something like a water bottle that can be used repeatedly, or getting your food portions right so that food is not wasted.

If something is no longer wanted make sure that it is not thrown away when it could be reused again in some way, made into something else, passed onto family, friends or donated to charity. If something is broken, can it be repaired? There may be someone out there with the skills to mend your item and give it a new lease of life.

Zero Waste Hierarchy
Reduce icon

Reduce

Reducing the amount of waste we produce might be one of the most difficult steps in the hierarchy, however it is the best. Take small steps and practice reducing waste in your daily life - ask yourself before purchasing anything is it something you really need? Reducing what you consume can help to prevent the loss of valuable resources, reduce carbon emissions and save you money.

Reduce

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Reuse

The idea of “wasting nothing and using everything” can help in the habit of reusing. Next time, before throwing something away, take a moment to consider if the item can be reused for any other purposes. Or give/sell it to someone else who can make use of it. Is it broken? Try and find out if can be repaired.

Reuse

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Recycle

By now most people are familiar with recycling - there are recycling bins and collection services in almost in every city and country. So nothing should be stopping you from recycling!

Recycle

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Recover

For some, recovery of Energy from Waste is a novel concept. However, for the Liverpool City Region, we have built facilities that convert the region’s black bin bag household waste into renewable energy (heat and power) which contributes to the National Power Grid and significantly reduces carbon emissions.

Recover

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Landfill

The last level in the hierarchy is landfill. This option should be only be considered when all other options above have been exhausted.

Landfill

Most favoured option
Least favoured option
Zero Waste Hierarchy

Not letting valuable resources go to waste means you are also likely to save money, help tackle climate change and avoid waste in the first place.

Did you know that a third of all food produced for consumption is thrown away? If food was a country it would be the third largest in the world after the US and China for emitting carbon dioxide. About 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stop wasting food.

By following the waste hierarchy principles, we can consider how best we provide our services, our behaviours and consumer choices to ensure that we don’t always buy, we use fewer natural and synthetic resources, and we reduce waste and carbon emissions which will ultimately help conserve resources, tackle climate change and together reach the goal of zero waste and carbon by 2040.